News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

Untold number of social grant recipients unable to access their money

SASSA grant recipient Fatima Fredericks (centre), who uses the grant to support her children (from left to right)Junaid, Yasien, Saadiq, Fafia and Rayhaan, was one of an untold number of people unable to access their grant money due to a Bankserv system crash on Friday, and the agencie's inability to help her over subsequent days. Photo: WCN

SASSA grant recipient Fatima Fredericks (centre), who uses the grant to support her children (from left to right)Junaid, Yasien, Saadiq, Fafia and Rayhaan, was one of an untold number of people unable to access their grant money due to a Bankserv system crash on Friday, and the agencie's inability to help her over subsequent days. Photo: WCN


Multiple crashes on South African ATM operating organisation Bankserv’s systems on Friday has left thousands of desperate social grant recipients unable to access their grant money from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

As a result, an untold number of grantees have been struggling to pay their February bills.

The reason being is that over a third of the approximately 10 million South Africans who receive grants, are paid directly into their bank accounts which they access with a SASSA mastercard.

Bankserv’s system crash led to these grantees struggling to access their money and at least 86 grantees  – according to SASSA’s new service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) – are documented as having their cards ‘swallowed’ by an ATM, leaving them completely unable to access their money.

CPS answered 8 347 calls to their helpline over the weekend from people unable to transact with their SASSA cards, said CPS Director Dr Serge Belamant yesterday.

But many more people may simply have been unable to get through to the helpline number.

“There could have been over 20 000 callers but we don’t have the capacity to handle this number,” said Belamant.

Fatima Fredericks, who lives near Lotus River in Cape Town, was one of the people who had her SASSA card ‘swallowed’ and spent days being sent from pillar to post in an effort to access her money.

Fredericks, who has five children and relies on her social security grant money to feed them and pay for transport to and from school, had her SASSA card ‘swallowed’ by the FNB ATM machine in Wynberg on Friday.

Fredericks said the bank couldn’t help her and she was turned away from various SASSA branches, and even threatened by an armed security guard at the SASSA Athlone offices when she insisted on speaking to a SASSA official.

“When I was issued the card by SASSA I was told to collect the money on 1st February as normal with the old card, and then to use the new card from the 1st March,” said Fredericks.

“On Friday I went to a Wynberg FNB ATM and checked the balance – it said there was R1117 but when I tried to withdraw the money the machine swallowed the card and I got a receipt saying the card had been reported stolen.”

“SASSA made a mistake when they told her to use the old card,” said Belamant.

“As soon as she received the new card the old one is no longer valid. When she tried to use it at the ATM her account was frozen and the card hot-listed.”

Fredericks then went to the nearest SASSA branch but was told it was not their problem.

“There were a few other people there with the same problem as me,” said Fredericks.

“We were told to call the toll free number on the back of the new card, but no one answers. I’ve been calling the number since Friday.”

Already destitute and with no money to feed her children, in desperation Fredericks went to the SASSA office in Wynberg on Monday and was told SASSA couldn’t help.

She then went to SASSA at the Athlone Civic Centre. There she found the gates closed and manned by three security guards.

“There was another woman there too who said she had been to SASSA seven times since Friday. The guards told us to leave. When I refused to leave they went and got another guard with a bulletproof vest and a big machine gun. I’m a tiny woman and I wasn’t making a scene.”

Finally Fredericks was let in to the building where SASSA officials told her it would take months to complete an enquiry.

Dr Waldemar Terblanche, head of SASSA in the Western Cape, who said there are 394,000 beneficiaries receiving their grant money via a bank or post office in the province, said it was better to call CPS if there was a problem with payment.

“There have been complaints about long waiting periods on the lines. It’s a national problem. There are high volumes of calls,” he said.

But problems such as Fatima Fredericks’ could have been sorted out very quickly by SASSA. When West Cape News told Terblanche about Fredericks’ situation yesterday her problem was resolved within hours. Terblanche admitted that she “should have been helped immediately when she went to SASSA”. – Katie de Klee

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Reader Feedback

26 Responses to “Untold number of social grant recipients unable to access their money”

  1. Jessica says:

    There seems to be a lot of confusion about the new payment system, and it is exclusively due to SASSA’s bumbledom and extreme arrogance.

    First of all, the grant sometimes is said to no longer be automatically paid into the bank accounts of grantees, but if you read and listen to the pronouncements of SASSA officials, it sometimes still is.

    If we were to believe them, all grantees should be able to withdraw money from any ATM anywhere.

    So, do pensioners have to phone a”certain number” to have the grant money transferred to their bank accounts, or not?

    Moreover, officials are forever trying to fob off their own incompetence on senior citizens by, for instance, claiming that call centres are overburdened with calls, something which they should anyway have foreseen would happen in the first place.

    Pensioners didn’t ask for the new payment system. They weren’t responsible for the corruption and crime that supposedly necessitated it. The SASSA gravy train was/is.

    Officials like Mr Terblanche are also very quick to dispense advice to pensioners and other grantees to go here or phone there, without giving a moment’s thought to the cost, energy and frustration involved.

    But this of course is just one symptom of their infinite arrogance.

    SASSA officials should all be subjected to a new training program that starts with “Repeat after me: I promise to do my job diligently and without arrogance…”

  2. wendy says:

    I would like to know when and if my mom and i are going to get the money that was deducted from our accounts the 1st of february 2013? A R20.00 was deducted from my children’s money and a R40.00 from my mom’s money. Please reply asap this money is all we receive eaach month.

  3. vuyokazi mbebe says:

    I would like to knw tht when wil I get my child grant. Coz I didn’t get the money my kids r suffering nw sin 1st of march my card was swallowed by the atm on the 2cnd the I’ve made onother card. Sins my money has been paid by sassa bt not in card. I even went to my pay piont stil I ddnt get nothing plz help a desperate mom

  4. admin says:

    If you don’t receive help at the SASSA office, phone the helpline 0214690200 or 0800601011. As a last resort phone Dr Waldemar Terblanche, head of SASSA in the Western Cape on 0825505286

  5. naeelah abrahams says:

    my child grant gets paid into my bank account on the 1st of every month, due to the public holiday been on the 1st of march when will it be paid into my accouunt

  6. dorah masango says:

    I need to know how long will it take to get the money after re-registration

  7. cynthia says:

    I want to know becouse ther say we must wait for letters andd now no letter I’m sick I will get a grant for june and can I re register anywhere in the country thanks

  8. tracey says:

    i lost my card what can i do now

  9. Itumeleng says:

    Never receive my first payment last month for social grands for two children on the 7th.May.2013 it was suppose to be R720 and I went on the 1st.june 2013 I receive R580.what happen to first payment?

  10. Hernina Christina van der walt says:

    I re-register on the 29th July 2013, the lady gave me my new card and said I must bring the next day a certified copy of my I’d and 3months bank statements! When I went there the next day I sit in the line for almost 1 and a half hours and when I’m finally in front the Lady was asking me “why did you bring in your copy of I’d and 3 months statements?” I said because the other lady told me to bring it then she said “no it was not necessarily, I already got my new card” so I went on the 1st August 2013 to withdraw money but it just said the transaction is declined! What must I do now???

  11. Sibongile says:

    I lost my card in my house so went to make a new card so they tell me to wait for 3 day and i did wait,when i go to a Atm my my wast the so i call a costomer care line the number at the back of my card they told me my money was withdrawn from sassa before i made a new what can i do to see who draw my money..plz respond asap

  12. lerato says:

    i re registerd en recieved money 4 past months it was stopt but dis month no payment what do i do

  13. I have this problem, on 1 october 2013 my card swallowed by nedbank bank.I’m staying at eastern cape now so I want to know should I go to near sassa here to get my another card ? please reply on 0710542328 and the card was made in cape town

  14. boikanyo says:

    this month i didn’t receive my child support grant what must i do.

  15. nontobeko says:

    what happen if you don’t the sassa grand it says insufficient

  16. Lorrain says:

    This month i didnt get my sister child grant what am supposed to do?

  17. toni says:

    What are the pay dates in dec 2013/jan 2014.will it still be 1st of januaary or will the ols age pension be paid ealier?thanking you

  18. Lebo says:

    I’m an unemployed mother of an eleven month old baby, I didn’t get my child’s grant money for December 2013, which I was supposed to get on the 16th. I intentionally didn’t go exactly on that day hoping that I would save it and instead I used the money I got from the piece jobs and used it for the december grocery and clothes for my toddler, but on the 23rd of december when I finally decided to take it out with a fear that sassa might take it back, I found out there was no money!!!! What happened to it???

  19. boitumelo says:

    hello? Can anyone tell me what is going on here? My mum took all my money and told me to re-register a new sassa card which i did. Then they told me to wait for d days than i will get my money. When i went to withdraw y money i only got a R22.99. And then my mom gave me my sassa card pretending not to know about it. Can we please inform what must i do. Because i wantstill want to use my old sassa card

  20. Khanyiswa says:

    Ddnnt recieve the child support grant

  21. portia says:

    Hi i just lost my card now so i need to know where must i go nd i need to know is there still money in the card nd ive called sassa office nd explain to them they said they can’t help me nd i must go to police station nd then i can come to them,i dont see any reason for not helping me i wanted them to check if the money is still there nd they must block the card so that is some1 try to use it,it must be not happy with their service

  22. candice hutton says:

    On the 30 June 2014 I went to draw my childrents grant at an atm in PE after 6pm. It showed there was no money in the account and my sassa card was swallowed. The next day I went to sassa to report this. I was given another card and told that my money would be available after 72 hours. I then went after the 72 hours to shoprite to draw my money and found out that there was no money available. I then went back to sassa. They told me that my money was drawn on the 1 july 2014 in JHB. My card was swallowed on the 30 june 2014. And I live in PE. What is going to happen now. I have a blind child who lost his eyes to cance and 2 other children too. How am I suppose to feed them and look after them for this month. How will I get the money to pay rent. Please reply to my email. I don’t know what to do and I am worried this might happen again. I rely on this sassa grant each and every month.

  23. I went to withdraw my child support grant at the ATM but I have recieved a transaction slip which says Declined-insufficient funds,I tried again the 2nd transaction slip says your institution is unavailable.So I want to know what happened

  24. nosipho says:

    i lost my sassa card ndmade a new one after waiting 3 days went to withdraw my money bt it says i only have 1 cent. what happened to the grant, ? will i be able to receive my grant next month?

  25. nelly says:

    Informed sassa thrice that I need to cancel the card as I finally got a permanent job. Still no feedback.

  26. andiswa tata says:

    my comment is why sassa not sending letters if they need us to sassa coz i dont have any child support grant since october last year until now i dont receive any money ,im still waiting to sassa to give me an answer coz i dont have wayforward for ,what make matters worse is they said (sassa)i didnt take the money how and why coz i need it for my children.,my number is 0634535202

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