Minister sees first hand the daily gripes of elderly during spot visit to Durban Sassa offices
Zulu, social development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza and KZN department head Nokuthula Khanyile paid a surprise visit to the Sassa centre in Pinetown in response to reports of slow service delivery and mistreatment of the elderly.
Many in the queue, who had been there since early morning, said they were waiting for a form they could not get because staff told them their computers were off line.
Zoliswa Ntini, 36, said she was struggling to complete an affidavit to get her child’s social grant reinstated.
“I’ve been sent back again and again to redo the affidavit because they want me to write more information, but I’ve written all I know,” she said.
Nokuthula Mthembu, 68, was at the centre to collect a food voucher.
She had arrived at 6am and still not received assistance. Zulu immediately intervened and Mthembu received the voucher.
Zulu and Khoza discovered that many were waiting outside for a registration form. Among them was a woman with a newborn, waiting to register her baby for a grant.
“It’s unfortunate that when we arrived they told us the system was going on and off,” Zulu said.
“We also found out that people working here are giving it their best. It’s very hard because they deal with people who come with different documents, and some come with half of the documents or unfilled documents, and they have to deal with that.
“I think our system needs to improve because I don’t think it’s fair to have a woman with a five-day-old baby sitting here almost the whole day,” she said.
Zulu also found in the queue a person who was not feeling well and who had come from a doctor.
“Where is the humanity? Where is the human feeling? Yes, there is a queue because we need order, but there should be that humanness among our people. When you see this person is not well, let the person be assisted.
“It should not take me and the MEC to come here and see that the person is almost falling, and the people inside can’t see that. It takes a bit of education, compassion and a bit of appreciating that it’s very hard for our people to come and sit in these queues when they’re not well,” Zulu said.