Rogue database downed Capitec in its worst IT outage

As computer systems breakdowns go, this one was doozy. Capitec, one of South Africa’s fastest growing banks, went offline for nearly two days last week – Thursday and Friday – infuriating its customers.

The bank blamed an “internal infrastructure problem” and promised to do better.

Services finally returned on Friday. All systems were operating normally and payments that had been delayed by system problems were processed on Saturday.

“We know we let our customers down and we sincerely apologize for that. This was an internal infrastructure issue, and we want to assure our customers that their money and data is safe with us, as always. We have never encountered a problem of this magnitude and will continue to do our best to ensure that it does not happen again. We have system upgrades and testing in place to support this,” Capitec said in a statement.

The bank said it had “paused” its digital channels for around 40 hours to “ensure a sustainable recovery”. This was after one of his banking system databases “slowed down sporadically”. He did not elaborate on the cause of the database problem.


Although its customers cannot access the banking application, USSD and internet banking services, Capitec’s IT team has prioritized its efforts to ensure that customers can still access their cash at outlets and ATMs, the bank said.

“Keeping the best interests of customers in mind, the bank will also reimburse any bank charges incurred as a result of the downtime.”

System problems – including blackouts – are not as rare in the South African banking industry as one might think. For example, Standard Bank’s ongoing problems prompted the company to recently fire its head of IT engineering. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media

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