Long queues at the Bellville Sassa offices recently. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).
Long queues at the Bellville Sassa offices recently. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).

Sassa has 10-point plan to address lapsed temporary disability grants

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Mar 3, 2021

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Cape Town - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has come up with a 10 point plan to mitigate the challenges created by the lapsed temporary disability grants (TDG) at the agency’s offices in the Western Cape.

Provincial grants administration general manager Michael Nhlangothi said: “The 10 point plan to address the lapsing of grants includes making the payment of the social relief of distress (SRD) through the private bank accounts of qualifying applicants operational.

“It also includes the regular updating of the electronic medical assessment database to track the number of medical assessments completed, the identification of the Sassa hotspots for the placement of the additional doctors and maintaining separate days for the older persons and child support grants.”

Nhlangothi briefed the legislature's standing committee on social development on the progress made to address the temporary disability grants backlog across the province.

Committee chairperson Gillion Bosman said: “If one considers the amount of time Sassa has had to put in place proper measures, there should have been much more progress from them at this stage.

“Sassa was also offered additional support by NGOs who are willing to provide their facilities and volunteers to the agency free of charge. However, they failed to take up the helping hand.”

Responding to committee member Rachel Windvogel (ANC) who asked how the situation came about, Nhlangothi said: “When the president announced the first lockdown, we decided to continue old age grants, child support grants and the temporary disability grants that would otherwise have lapsed until December.”

“However in December when the government said we could no longer continue paying the grants, they all lapsed and when people came to apply for their grants they all came at the same time.”

Committee member Nosipho Makaba-Botya (EFF) wanted to know how the province ended up with 52 323 TDG suspensions, the highest number in the country.

Nhlangothi said Sassa had organised “empirical research” into the question to try and provide a definitive answer.

Meanwhile, at a meeting on Monday with Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez, Sassa promised all TDG grant recipients in the province would be assessed before Sassa’s own deadline of March 31.

She said: “We will continue to meet with Sassa fortnightly, to provide an update on the progress made to address their current challenges.”

Cape Argus

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