Minister of Telecommunications Siyabonga Cwele has told Parliament the SA Post Office is ready to handle South Africa’s social grants.
Cwele said in a media statement that the SA Post Office “has met its obligations in readiness for its role in the electronic payment option of social grants”.
“These include card productions and plans to swap existing cards with new cards,” stated the department.
Cwele said the Postbank will be able to “play its role in the payment of social grants, even though it does not have a banking licence”.
Post Office CEO Barnes told Parliament that SASSA will instead use its Paymaster General account at the SA Reserve Bank to facilitate transfers into the Special Disbursement Account (SDA) via Bankserv.
“The SDA product has been created in Postbank’s core banking system and is ready. Individual accounts will be opened during on-boarding of new beneficiaries commencing 3 April 2018,” said Barnes.
While this may sound good in theory, there is a problem – the Post Office cannot even keep its website online.
Website, email, phones down
The South African Post Office’s online presence is in tatters, as detailed by a MyBroadband report on 20 March.
Customers also previously reported that calls to the company’s call centre were not answered.
Emails to addresses on the postoffice.co.za domain are also bouncing, when tested on 20 March.
Additionally, MyBroadband found that payment for the postoffice.co.za domain was not made, according to the ZACR whois service.
An amount of R125.40 was invoiced on 1 February 2018, and was sent to [email protected]
The telephone numbers listed on the whois page for the “Admin” and “IT Support” at the Post Office also did not work – producing an automated message that they had been changed, and the new numbers were not available.
The question must then be asked: If the Post Office cannot keep its website online and pay its domain fees, how is it in any position to handle the country’s social grants?