‘Technical challenges’ at Sassa leave many penniless


Many pensioners and those in need who depend on the South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) monthly allowances walked away empty-handed this week when they wanted to withdraw this money.

This is because Posbank experiences “technical challenges” when some Sassa beneficiaries try to withdraw their money from ATMs and other retailers.

“There were people sitting and crying in the post office,” says Corinne de Beer from eMalahleni (Witbank), who relies on the meager state pension she receives monthly through Sassa.

“Whole families who depend on a small pension were devastated after they couldn’t get that money.”

This 67-year-old pensioner and her husband, Stoffel, are both dependent on their Sassa allowance. Although both do a great job when they get the chance, they are still in a predicament without their pension money.

“We have to pay rent, and we couldn’t buy power. I had to borrow R200 to buy power,” says Corinne.

“When I wanted to buy groceries at Pick n Pay with my Sassa card, the transaction wouldn’t go through, so I couldn’t even buy anything there.”

Corinne says she also tried to withdraw her Sassa money from an ATM on Tuesday, but only an error message appeared. She did the same at the post office, but also without any success.

According to Corinne, she was told that there was a mistake with the transaction, that the money was not available and that it would only be available again between seven and 21 days.

Stoffel was able to withdraw part of his money.

“I talked to friends and family in Bloemfontein and they came across the same. We depend on that money.”

Marietha Harris, head of affairs at Posbank, says teams are scrambling to clear up the technical challenges with the Sassa payments.

“Posbank understands the inconvenience and other challenges these technical problems cause. We apologize for this.”

At this stage, however, it is unclear exactly what the “technical challenges” entail and how serious the extent of the problem is.

Harris says Posbank will notify all Sassa beneficiaries as soon as the error has been corrected.

In the meantime, social grants with Sassa’s gold cards can still be withdrawn from post offices, as these transactions seem to be going without problems.

By Wednesday morning, the problem appeared to be still ongoing in places.