It was established in response to the constitutional injunction emphasising, through section 27, that social security is a basic right and those unable to support themselves and their dependants should be assisted.
Sassa opened its doors of service delivery on April 1, 2006 to administer and pay social grants as part of the government’s response to the plight of the people who faced difficulties and undue hardship. There are more than 17 million beneficiaries, of which children make up more than 12 million.
Existing side by side with the milestones the agency achieved are challenges that befell Sassa in relation to the contract to pay social grants. Work is under way to resolve undesirable challenges that have the potential to impede progress in the fight against poverty. The Constitutional Court has issued directives on the matter and continues to deal with other related issues.
South Africans should rest assured that the agency will not be sidetracked by challenges such as the negative narrative peddled in the public discourse. The National Development Plan is clear about the trajectory the country needs to follow with regard to social protection and Sassa’s work is informed by this.
The work Sassa has done plays a role in reducing poverty and inequality in the prevailing milieu characterised by rampant unemployment. It understands that where high levels of unemployment persist, it needs to prevent people from falling deeper into poverty and reduce vulnerability.
The agency is concentrating on ensuring that millions continue to receive their benefits.
At the core of Sassa’s strategy to reach the most susceptible sectors of society is its fortitude to increase access to social grants by targeting children from when they are born, orphans, people with disabilities and the elderly.
* Paseka Letsatsi is Sassa head of communications.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
The Sunday Independent