The South African Post Office (Sapo) said on Tuesday it had completed upgrades to its national social grants IT system in time for the end-of-July payment cycle.
It said the upgrades would allow Sapo sufficient capacity to process grant payments transaction volumes involving social beneficiaries that had migrated to the new gold South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) card.
Last month a systems failure resulted in about 700 000 social grant beneficiaries not receiving their payouts from Sassa on time, drawing condemnation from opposition political parties and rights groups.
On Tuesday Sapo, mandated to be the payment channel for all social grants in South Africa in a government-led initiative, said the IT improvements had increased its processing capacity to better than 160 transactions a second – an improvement of more than 700% and in line with banking industry standards.
“Our IT systems are ready for the upcoming month-end and we are confident that social grants beneficiaries will witness a smooth payments experience,” it said.
The new Sassa card is tailored to prevent illegal deductions on social grants and operates fully within the national payment system. Beneficiaries can use it to make ATM and merchant cash withdrawals, free retail merchant purchases as well as to withdraw cash over the counter inside a post office.
Sapo said it had so far switched 2.7 million beneficiaries over to the new gold Sassa card.