On 15 December 2022 I wrote to the national Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu. At the time we had received numerous complaints of Postbank-issued SASSA gold cards not working. Postbank had suspended ATM withdrawals for December while it dealt with technical issues that was the result of criminals attacking its network.
I had called on Minister Zulu to urgently intervene to find a solution to the problem as our most vulnerable citizens were suffering.
It is a month later and not only have I not received any feedback from the Minister nor her office, but there are once again problems plaguing SASSA beneficiaries.
Apparent “system challenges” experienced by Postbank led to a number of beneficiaries being unable to access their January SASSA grants. I’ve seen various reports and our office has received complaints about beneficiaries who experienced difficulties accessing their money.
Postbank says it has fixed its “system glitches.” But for citizens dependent on these grants to put food on their tables and keep the lights on – when Eskom allows – any type of delay is unacceptable, especially if it continues to happen month after month, without any word or sign of urgency from national government.
There are over 1,6 million SASSA beneficiaries in the Western Cape, and millions more across South Africa.
When will national government take these concerns seriously? It wants to corporatise Postbank, but month after month we see this entity imploding when it has to disburse grants, affecting the most vulnerable in our society.
I will continue applying pressure on my national counterpart, Minister Zulu, and I urge her to listen this time, because the holidays are over.