There was a marked improvement in grant payments in many areas in the Eastern Cape at the beginning of August, following problems in July which affected thousands of beneficiaries.
Scores of social grant beneficiaries from villages in and around Mthatha flocked to the local post office as early as 3 o’clock on Wednesday morning to receive their money.
In July there were problems with withdrawals as a result of technical glitches in the system. This after the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) introduced a new card system.
The elderly and the young queued for long hours in the chilly weather, eager to get their money. The Post Office opened its doors an hour earlier to make things a little easier for them.
However, the waiting in cold weather was not in vain, as many social grant beneficiaries received their money without any problems, both at ATMs and at the post office.
Pensioner Veronica Matomela says, “I received all my money for the first time today ever since I started receiving social grant. I am so happy. I will never stop using the post office.”
Almost 3 million beneficiaries nationally have swapped their old Sassa cards to the new gold cards. However, there are beneficiaries from rural areas who still flocked to paypoints unaware that the new cards are only compatible with the Post Office system.
One of them is 63 year-old Florence Sandile. She says, “I did not get my money. What are we going to eat now? When we vote they say we will be free. Where is freedom in this? The government must do something. They say the money has been moved to the bank. My husband also did not get his money. He recently changed to the new card and when he went to Sassa offices the computer was clean and the money was not there.”
Meanwhile, Mthatha Post Office Area Manager, Xola Dlamini confirmed that payment of social grants has continued smoothly in all their post offices on Wednesday.
“From our side, as Post Office, we are happy with the progress so far in terms of paying out our beneficiaries. We’ve got no queues at all in our post offices and also if you look at the merchants and the ATMs there are no queues. So, for us we are really happy for the progress.”
The Post Office says the roll-out of its money dispensing machines will begin mid-August in rural areas.
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