By Kelvin Chiringa
Another systems error at the Social Security Commission (SSC) has resulted in the erasing of clients’ computerized data which has come in time to delay the payments of their beneficiaries’ funds and inconveniencing others.
The technical glitch was reported by various aggrieved beneficiaries with some of them having only received their funds two weeks later.
The Commission’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Milka Mungunda did not deny the reports when questions were sent to her by The Patriot.
She said that Social Security Commission had taken the decision to upgrade its system and to acquire new equipment which resulted in some changes which resulted in some inconveniences for their clients.
“This process took a bit longer than we initially anticipated. However, the process is now under control and we are only upgrading our data, although the pace is now slower. We hope to complete the entire process in less than a month to reach the required pace as per planning,” said Mungunda.
One of the aggrieved stakeholders who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity said it was now difficult to trust the commission’s ICT systems anymore given its weaknesses reported lately.
“My wife got her payments only last Saturday. They were saying she would get her payments after five working days. She approached the commission on the 25th of May. She was told the payments had been processed and that she would either get it the following day.
“Those two to three days passed by, she called them again, which was month-end, and she was told she was supposed to have received her payments already.’ They feigned ignorance when she stated that she had not received her payments.
“Then she called a second lady who told her that the systems have crushed and that is why you did not receive your payment. Also they said they lost the data and that they will be putting it back manually but that it would take a while. On Friday she received that notification text that your account will be credited after five working days,” he said.
The source said that his wife had to wait for almost 15 working days before her payment was facilitated.
“If they say you are going to receive your payment on a Friday, which is the 25th, people have their debit orders, people know on the 25th they are getting paid, all their contracts with insurance whatever are sorted by their salaries which comes on the 25th. So from the 26th, 27th and 28th they start deducting. So if there is no money in the account, the account gets into negative.
These guys know there was a time that their website crashed also. I do not know how their things work. People’s information was put in the public. There is no trust at all with that system,” he said.
Another inconvenienced client told this publication that they were not notified of the problem and only found out when they enquired.
“It should be automatic. The system has crashed, so you notify everyone even in the newspapers, or call for a press conference and the media do their thing of putting it there in the public so that people who would be affected would know for how many days,” she said.
A computer programmer who claimed to be familiar with how the SCC system operates, said the commission’s experts ought to have kept a mirror version of their server.
“They should back up their data, so that when these things happen you do not have a crisis. They should have kept many back-ups. Usually when dealing with such a system in an entity as vital as the Social Security Commission, one has to do the back-ups of people’s information on a daily basis. That means each morning you get in the office, you do a backup,” he said.
He added that failure to stick to this should be regarded as gross negligence.