Ministers Lindiwe Zulu and Mondli Gungubele on delayed SASSA payments

Joint Ministerial media briefing on SASSA Social Grant payment by Postbank


The Departments of Communications and Digital Technologies, and Social Development, their agencies, the Postbank, the South African Post Office and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), extend their sincerest apologies to social grant beneficiaries who have encountered difficulties accessing their grants this past week. The two departments and their agencies share the pain of beneficiaries, in this case the elderly and persons with disabilities who solely depend on the provision for their daily livelihoods.

As Ministers and the two shareholder representatives of the entities, we have seen the need to take the nation into confidence about the root cause of the recent challenges that have affected the social grants payments during the month of September 2023.

Background to the Technical Glitch:

On Tuesday, 5th September and Wednesday, 6th September 2023, Postbank experienced intermittent system challenges at ATMs and retailers, leading to failed withdrawal attempts by some grant recipients for the old age and disabilities grants. The intermittent systems challenges were as a result of a systems upgrade the bank is introducing to provide a better service.

The system challenges led to the transactions of beneficiaries resulting in ‘transaction incomplete errors’ because of the system’s communication timeouts. The ‘transaction incomplete errors’ are common payments systems errors within the banking space, however normally go by unnoticed due to automated reversal functionality. The system challenges that affected Postbank unfortunately impacted the availability of the auto reversal functionality.
Regrettably, this resulted in some social grants beneficiaries that were due to be paid on the 5th and 6th of September 2023 not receiving their social grants payments on time.

We would like to reassure our social grants beneficiaries, the public and all stakeholders that the system challenges were as a matter of fact resolved on the morning of 6th September 2023. The Postbank system has been working optimally since the afternoon of 6th September 2023.

We would also like to confirm that the payment of all other social grants, which involves a much bigger clientele number, was concluded on 7th September 2023 without any challenges across all National Payments Systems (NPS) channels including ATMs and retailers.

More than 4 million individuals were paid their social grants money by Postbank through the SASSA Gold Cards on 7th and 8th September 2023. However, there might be few beneficiaries who have not yet received their social grants. Unfortunately, though, due to the automated reversal not working on the 5th and 6th, a number of clients, mainly the elderly, were unable to access their funds for a prolonged period of time as a manual process had to be implemented to credit their accounts.

The Current State of Affairs:

This is what Postbank is now contending with, which is the source of the understandable nationwide concerns relating to the September 2023 social grants payments and the issue that as Ministers we saw the need to address, concerns the reversing of funds into the accounts of beneficiaries that were impacted by the ‘false transaction’ errors affecting some beneficiaries on the 5th and 6th of September 2023.
Postbank has implemented a manual process to reverse funds into the affected beneficiaries’ accounts.

Originally this affected approximately 600000 beneficiaries, which translates to around 10% of the 5,3 million beneficiaries that are paid their social grants via Postbank’s SASSA Gold Cards monthly.
We would like to confirm to South Africa that the majority of these accounts have now been corrected and clients have been able to access their money. Postbank has completed more than 500 000 funds reversals to date, and the affected beneficiaries have gotten their social grants payments.

However, it is important to acknowledge that due to the manual processes involved, the process is time consuming which has taken a longer than desirable period for clients that were impacted since last week to access their money.

Government assures South Africa and social grants beneficiaries that all social grants beneficiaries that have not yet received their social grants payments will be paid their money in full.

We encourage our clients who are still encountering challenges with accessing their grant money and require support to contact the Postbank call centre on 0800 53 54 55 or send a text message to our WhatsApp line on 073 806 1631 or email to

We have also encountered some attempts to defraud the system by individuals who would have received their funds trying to get a double payment. Our systems are very thorough and therefore people will not be able to defraud the system, instead what they are doing is clogging up the system and thereby delaying the process of dealing with valid reversals. We condemn these attempts and further warn those people to stop this as we will be reporting attempted cases of fraud to law enforcement agencies.

Update SASSA Gold Cards:
We assure social grant beneficiaries that the September payments challenges are not at all related to the SASSA Gold Cards expiry. 

The challenges were a result of a payments IT system issue that has since been resolved.

SASSA Gold Cards remain valid and operational until December 2023 in accordance with the extension of the validity of the cards that was granted by the South African Reserve Bank. Social grants beneficiaries are encouraged to ignore false information peddlers that tell them that the SASSA Gold Cards have expired and are not valid.

The departments and their entities will regularly update SASSA beneficiaries and the nation on the details of the SASSA cards replacement program and unveil the new Postbank SASSA Grants Payments cards.

Postbank IT System 

Improvement Program:

Before we conclude, we wish to update the public that the Postbank has made tremendous progress towards concluding its banking IT systems improvement program which will ensure that it operates from secure and robust banking IT environment that is on par with all the other commercial banks. This development will also ensure that system challenges of this nature are a thing of the past. Government remains committed to establishing the Postbank as a developmental State Bank.

In conclusion, on behalf of both agencies, government wishes to profusely apologise to stakeholders in the payment value-chain for enduring these challenges. We express our gratitude for the support they provided during this time to all recipients of social grants that were affected by the technical challenges.

Government is determined to continue building a capable and developmental state within a vibrant democratic system to benefit the poorest of the poor. The Postbank and SASSA as state agencies carrying pro-poor mandates are necessarily adjoined by this government determination.

Postbank and SASSA staff will be in communities this entire week to assess progress on the payment of grants and to assist recipients who may require further guidance and assistance.

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