Some SASSA grant recipients told the Zoutpansberger that they had yet to recieve their July money, with some pensioners stating that they were in dire straits financially because of the problems with the new card issued.
Date: 10 August 2018 By: Jo Robinson
Chaos continues to reign at the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) branch in Louis Trichardt, with some pensioners still struggling to get their July pension payout.
This comes amidst SASSA’s switchover to their new gold card system. Some local grant recipients are very happy with the assistance they have received from SASSA, while others are in tears. Although some received their 1 August payout, others have still been waiting for their July and August payout.
SASSA issued a media release on 6 July, stating that it had experienced problems in paying out to pensioners since 1 July. Of the 12 million SASSA beneficiaries per month, some 700 000 use the new gold card.
In a SASSA media release issued on 30 July, the agency said that, regarding the August payment cycle, they were ready to proceed with their payout after the July glitches. They added that “all affected beneficiaries have now been paid for the July cycle”. Some unhappy grant beneficiaries disagree, however, and continue to contact the Zoutpansberger seeking help in getting access to their money.
Mr Justice Kapara contacted the Zoutpansberger looking for help for his aged mother, pensioner Ms Tovhowani Florah Gabara, who has not been able to draw her pension for either July or August. Kapara is based in Johannesburg and unable to physically come to his mother’s aid right now, while she herself lives out of town and is unable to afford transport back and forth. She informed her son that when she tried to get assistance from the local SASSA office, she was shouted at and told to “Go home, and don’t come back.”
The Zoutpansberger shared this information with a Mr Mvhangu, an employee at the SASSA Louis Trichardt branch. While directing the very many people seeking help outside Louis Trichardt’s SASSA offices on 2 August, he stated that people were “keying in the incorrect information at ATMs”, which was contributing in a large part to their inability to withdraw their grants. He encourages people to remain calm and to contact their closest SASSA branch if they are unable to access their money.
In their latest statement SASSA says their staff members across the country are visiting pay points, merchants, banks and post offices to ensure smooth payment of social grants. “So far, preliminary reports indicate that the payment of grants is proceeding well in all areas. Scores of beneficiaries have swapped the old card to the new gold SASSA/SAPO card and are receiving their grants through methods convenient to them,” read the statement.
SASSA admitted, however, that some minor challenges had been picked up in some areas, including that certain beneficiaries wanted to use the old card even after having chosen bank accounts. “After investigations on the Socpen system, they are properly directed to where their money is,” said SASSA.
General manager for SASSA’s customer care Mr Sonwabo Koliti also indicated that no major issues had come through the SASSA call centre on the first day, except 67 people who had reported on non-payment. “We have already managed to immediately resolve 90% of the issues that came through and the rest will be finalized before end of business today [8 August],” said Koliti.
Some pensioners mentioned that they could not withdraw more than a certain amount as a result of the money that rolled over from last month’s payment. “Beneficiaries who have not swapped their cards are encouraged to do so before the end of September 2018 deadline,” said SASSA.
Jo joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2018 pursuing a career in journalism after many years of writing fiction and non-fiction for other sectors.