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Sassa head vows to clear backlog at grant pay points

Acting CEO Abraham Mahlangu has told Parliament's Social Development Committee the agency has a handle on the technical problems that have affected grants being paid.

FILE: Pensioners queue to collect their Sassa grants. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South African Social Security Agency (Sassa)’s head has promised to clear the backlog of queues at social grants pay points by the end of business on Wednesday.

The agency says it is making arrangement for grant beneficiaries who are still unable to access their money due to technical glitches.

Acting chief executive officer Abraham Mahlangu has told Parliament's Social Development Committee the agency has a handle on the technical problems that have affected grants being paid.

Mahlangu says the problems largely stemmed from the rapid increase in the number of people who are now having to receive their grants from the Post Office.

From around 230,000 beneficiaries with accounts at the Post Office, there are now more than 900,000.

On Sunday, many grant beneficiaries were turned away from pay points around the country.

Mahlangu says the new information technology system could not handle the strain.

Speaking over the phone to Parliament's Social Development Committee, Mahlangu promised the backlog would be cleared on Wednesday.

“The issue about the system performance has improved drastically. I'm monitoring the system on an hourly basis nationally.”

Mahlangu says there's no need to activate relief measures and those in queues will receive their money by the end of Wednesday.

SASSA DISTRIBUTES VOUCHERS

Sassa says there's been a significant improvement in the Eastern Cape as it works to resolve payment system issues.

Sassa's Paseka Letsatsi said they were distributing vouchers to beneficiaries.

“The social relief of the distress, be it in the form of a food voucher, wherein it equals the grant type where people can be able to go to the shops and buy whatever goods that they want to.”

Sassa introduced new cards to enable beneficiaries to draw cash from selected Post Office outlets as well as Sassa offices. Around 17 million South Africans depend on Sassa grants every month.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)