The City’s safety and security portfolio committee has lambasted the SA Social Security Agency for failing to adequately respond to disasters. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
The City’s safety and security portfolio committee has lambasted the SA Social Security Agency for failing to adequately respond to disasters. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Sassa under fire by City of Cape Town for slow aid response

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Feb 6, 2020

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Cape Town - The City’s safety and security portfolio committee has lambasted the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) for failing to adequately respond to disasters after hearing about the struggle the directorate has with the security agency to provide aid.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said: “The change in service delivery was unilateral. Sassa did not consult the public.

“There was no public participation.”

He said there was a marked drop in service delivery since Sassa took over.

“We went from a situation where we responded to a situation in four hours to one where we are responding days later, when the crisis is long gone.

“People need assistance immediately, so the whole situation has deteriorated into a mess,” Smith said, adding that Sassa had no intention of fixing the matter.

“We have engaged in a number of meetings with Sassa regarding this matter. We had to get the province involved in this because it has an oversight role,” Smith said.

Sassa took over the responsibilities for activation of humanitarian relief from Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in 2018.

For many years, DRM conducted assessments after local disasters to determine the number of people affected and their specific needs.

Sassa spokesperson Shivani Wahab said: “Sassa has a dependency on the City for the name list of disaster victims in order for service providers to be activated.

“The Sassa disaster policy is also very clear that disaster victims must be placed in halls before service providers can be activated. If this detail is not forthcoming from the City, it’s beyond Sassa’s control to activate any services.

“Sassa is a national entity. We are responsible for the administration and payment of social grants. Disasters are just one element of the policy. Nothing prevents the City or province from budgeting for these functions and taking them over from Sassa,” she said.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus

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