×

We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Postbank pleads for patience amid grant payments mess

Minister Gungubele weighs in to assure frustrated beneficiaries

Senior citizens waited in long queues for their grant payments outside a Pick n Pay at Diepkloof shopping centre in Soweto, last week.
Senior citizens waited in long queues for their grant payments outside a Pick n Pay at Diepkloof shopping centre in Soweto, last week.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Postbank says about 100,000 social grant beneficiaries are yet to receive their social grants and has asked them to be patient.

In a joint press briefing with communications and digital technologies minister Mondli Gungubele, Postbank CEO Nikki Mbengashe said about 600,000 of their 5.5-million clients were affected by last week’s “technical glitch”, which resulted in delayed payments to thousands of their customers. 

She said they had reversed about 90% of the money their beneficiaries could not withdraw for various reasons last week. 

“Regrettably, the automated reversal malfunction on September 5th and 6th caused a significant delay in fund access for numerous clients, particularly the elderly, as we had to resort to manual procedures to credit their accounts,” said Mbengashe.

Minister of communications and digital technologies Mondli Gungubele and Postbank CEO Nikki Mbengashe.
Minister of communications and digital technologies Mondli Gungubele and Postbank CEO Nikki Mbengashe.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

The glitch was a result of a systems upgrade that Postbank was introducing to provide a better service. The system challenges led to the transactions of beneficiaries being incomplete and money reflecting to have been withdrawn when in fact it was not.

“From the beginning when the problem arose, we did say that everything was fine during interviews, and we still maintain that statement because the questions were directed at our systems – whether they were stable – and they are stable.”

She said they hoped to finish reversing all the money due to beneficiaries soon.

“The majority of customers have received assistance, and we believe most of them have received their funds. The issue we're encountering is some individuals attempting to receive double payments, which is causing congestion in our system and complicating the process for those beneficiaries who were genuinely affected by the automated reversal failure,” stated the CEO.

Gungubele asked beneficiaries to be patient as the process of reversal took time. 

“I would like to confirm that Postbank has completed around 500,000 funds reversals to date, and due to the manual process being time-consuming, which does take a long time, longer than the desired time of beneficiaries, clients who haven't received their funds, please be patient as the money will be paid in full,” said Gungubele. 

Pat Zungu, 80, is among some of the beneficiaries who have not been lucky to receive their money despite the government’s promises to speedily fix the technical glitch. 

Zungu, from Mamelodi East in Tshwane, has been to four Postbank branches and several retailers to try to make a withdrawal of his old-age grant with no luck.

While Gungubele and Mbengashe were assuring the nation of their interventions to fix the problem yesterday, Zungu was being told by officials at the Mamelodi West Post Office that his money had been reversed and he might get it today.

Zungu lives with his disabled wife and unemployed son and they all depend on social grants to make ends meet. His wife’s disability grant was also delayed for days. 

On Saturday he attended a family funeral, where he managed to secure some food items for his family.

“They gave me like six potatoes, few tomatoes and some leftover meat and other things, and now we have to plan carefully before we cook because we don't know when I will get the money,” he said.

His wife’s grant help to pay the municipal rates and buy basic things like paraffin to save on electricity.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.