Ndabeni-Abrahams meets SAPO, Postbank boards amid social grant tiff
Communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, has implored the boards of the South African Post Office (SAPO) and Postbank to fast-track the digitisation of banking services to make them more efficient.
This comes after the minister, during meetings with the entities in the past two weeks, raised concerns about the handling of the COVID-19 Special Social Relief of Distress Grant distribution.
The meeting comes after media reports this week said Ndabeni-Abrahams was embroiled in a fight with SAPO.
According to a City Press report, at the centre of the fight was the payment of R350 relief grants. It alleged the SAPO board did not want to be involved in the distribution of the grants.
“The minister’s concerns included pay points running out of cash on payment dates,” says the ministry in a statement.
It says the meeting with SAPO was held last week, while the one with Postbank was held on Thursday. As advised by the department, the minister, together with senior officials from the department, held a special general meeting to discuss a raft of issues.
These ranged from the distribution of the Special Social Relief of Distress Grant for COVID-19 of R350, to the status of disciplinary processes of senior executives currently on suspension.
The minister and the boards also discussed the service level agreements between SAPO and Postbank; the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) card fraud at SAPO and Postbank; and the digitisation of banking services to be more efficient.
The department says in April, president Cyril Ramaphosa outlined additional coronavirus economic and social relief measures, among them the Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant of R350 a month for unemployed South African citizens not receiving any form of social grant.
Says the ministry: “Following the announcement by the president, the board members of SAPO and Postbank made a commitment to minister Ndabeni-Abrahams to work together in ensuring the successful payments of the Special Social Relief of Distress grants.”
Regarding the fast-tracking of the digitisation of banking services, the Postbank board explained there has been significant decline in card fraud on SASSA cards.
“While this reduction is commendable, minister Ndabeni has stressed the importance of being vigilant in fighting fraud,” reads the statement.
Board members from the Post Office and Postbank undertook to resolve all the concerns raised by the minister as a matter of urgency.
Ndabeni-Abrahams is scheduled to meet with social development minister Lindiwe Zulu next week.