The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) is in the process of issuing letters for the appointment of doctors to speed up the medical assessment of disability grant applications in the Western Cape.
Responding to parliamentary questions from DA MP Alexandra Abrahams, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the medical assessment backlog in the Western Cape comprised of persons who wished to apply for a disability-related grants for the first time.
Zulu also said there were also applications for those who have been previously rejected and those granted temporary disability grants.
“To address the shortage of assessment doctors, Sassa Western Cape has since inception entered into service level agreements with all districts of the provincial Department of Health for the provision of medical assessment services.
“The implementation of the service level agreement is hampered by the shortage of doctors and other health practitioners who can perform proper medical assessments,” she said.
Abrahams asked Zulu about the temporary disability grant backlog in the Western Cape and the fact that there were only 11 assessment doctors in the province.
She wanted to know about measures the department has taken to address the shortage of assessment doctors and the total number of assessment doctors who have been successfully recruited to date.
Zulu said Sassa embarked on a procurement process for independent health practitioners in July.
“An advert for a three year tender was issued with a closing date of July 14, 2023. Sassa Western Cape is in the process of issuing award letters to 14 successful bidders.
“The appointed doctors will be provided with schedules to speed up medical assessments, with specific focus on areas where the need for medical assessments remain high,” she said.