The South African Post Office (SAPO) has announced upgrades to its IT system capacity as it prepares to deliver month-end grants payments.
In a statement on Tuesday (31 July), the SAPO said that the upgrades will allow sufficient capacity to process grant payments transaction volumes involving social beneficiaries that have migrated to the new gold Sassa card.
It added that the IT improvements have increased its processing capacity to better than 160 transactions per second – an improvement of more than 700%, and in line with banking industry standards.
“Our IT systems are ready for the upcoming month end payments and we are confident that social grants beneficiaries will witness a smooth payments experience,” said Lindiwe Kwele, SAPO COO.
“The technicians have been working tirelessly with industry stakeholders since the beginning of the month to optimise our transaction capacity. Infrastructure upgrades have also been implemented on Postbank’s connectivity to Bankserv to improve transaction speeds.”
New Sassa Gold card
In line with a new government-led initiative, the Post Office is now the gazetted preferred payment channel for all social grants in South Africa.
As part of the initiative, SAPO and Sassa are currently migrating social grants beneficiaries to a new gold Sassa card that is tailored to prevent illegal deductions on social grants.
The new Sassa card operates fully within the national payment system and social grants beneficiaries can use it to make ATM and merchant cash withdrawals, free retail merchant purchases as well as to withdraw cash over the counter inside a Post Office.
This means beneficiaries that switched to the new gold Sassacard do not have to go queue at the Post Office to access their money. On midnight 31 July, the money will be credited into the accounts and beneficiaries can make transactions with their cards from any of the channels available to them.
Meanwhile, SAPO said it has notified social grants beneficiaries that have switched to the new Sassa cards that the new card does not work at the old pay-points where they were previously paid in cash by CPS officials after handing in the old white Sassa card.
“It is important for social grants beneficiaries to note that once you have switched to the new gold Sassa card before 22 July, you cannot use the new card at your previous Sassa pay-point,” said Kwele.
“Your social grant money will automatically be paid into the new card and, if you so wish, you can withdraw cash at any ATM, over the till at shops such as Shoprite and Boxer, the Post Office or you can simply use your card to buy goods at any shops that accept bank cards.”
Accordingly to Kwele, the reason social grants beneficiaries are not able to use the new Sassa cards in the old pay-points is that, for proprietary reasons, the new social grants payment system is not compatible with the outgoing one.
Sassa is also in the process of rationalising its pay-points, and some of them may be decommissioned, she said.