This article first appeared in the 1 July 2022 edition of the Cape Argus newspaper.
Cape Town - Khayelitsha residents led by the ANC Youth League held a demonstration in front of Sassa offices in the early hours of on Thursday, demanding better and improved services for the community.
The demonstration followed a night vigil on Wednesday, which the Youth League said was to assess, monitor and experience the plight of the residents.
It demanded that Sassa afford the community of Khayelitsha quality and courteous service, reinstate the community hall service points, and make provisions for the safety of its staff and beneficiaries.
It also demanded that Sassa increase its personnel capacity, particularly young people from Khayelitsha, conduct service awareness programmes and that services be communicated, be accessible and transparent to all.
The league’s sub-regional co-ordinator Tina Tyusha said they were moved by how grant applicants and beneficiaries were treated at Sassa offices in Khayelitsha.
“On June 23 at midnight, we visited the offices and we found elderly people queuing outside, some were sleeping on the ground. It was a sad experience. We interviewed some of the applicants and they were completely dissatisfied with the service they are getting,” she said.
Tyusha said as the Youth League had been trying to reach out to Sassa officials since 2019 and during the lockdown, but never got a proper response. She said since the hard lockdown, social grant applicants and beneficiaries had been receiving a sub-human service from Sassa employees, and were subjected to health and safety risks where people had to sleep outside the offices.
“The current situation is a disgrace to our democratic dispensation. It is very alarming to us as young people of Khayelitsha and any other human being/species who value the existence of our elders whom through their wisdom we thrive in are ill-treated in this manner,” she said.
One of the residents who slept in front of the offices, Nomandla Socishe, said they had to brave unfavourable weather and criminal elements so that they were the first in line, which she said did not guarantee that one would receive the required assistance.
The league gave Sassa’s management seven working days to respond to their memorandum of grievances.