Queues and payment issues for social grants persist
TODAY the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and South African Post Office (Sapo) were expected to brief the portfolio committee on social development on an integrated plan to address challenges in the payment of social grants, including queue system.
Meanwhile, problems with the queuing system still persist.
A child support grant applicant, who did not want to be named, said yesterday was her fourth day queuing outside the Phoenix Sassa office for hours.
She left with a form and has has to return at a later date.
“The service is pathetic and the employees don’t care. They don’t tell us when they’ve reached their daily limit. We just see doors being closed and that’s when we know they have closed for the day. And our details are not recorded.”
She said it was only when she caused a scene on Wednesday that she was given a ticket for yesterday.
Sassa provincial spokesperson Sandy Godlwana said Sassa decided to have half the staff working on a shift basis so that if others were in self-isolation for positive Covid-19 cases in that office, the staff who returned to work would not be compromised and service delivery could continue.
“Hence, we then take a limited number of applicants for disability grants per day depending on the number of staff in that office, which ideally is from 50 to 80 clients for disability grants per day,” said Godlwana.
“However, no client should be sent home without a Sassa official capturing the client’s information to call at a later stage to confirm when the client can visit the office, and what documents to bring when applying for the disability grant. That’s the procedure that management in KZN has agreed on.”
Last week, a Sassa disability grant recipient said he was told by Sassa to go to the Gandhi Road assessment centre in Pietermaritzburg and the district surgeon would assess him at 9am. He arrived at 6.30am and about 200 people were already before him.
They waited in line with no food or water and after enquiring, he was told the doctor did not arrive and only arrived at 1.15pm.
In a statement, Sassa said: “Sassa management would like to profusely apologise to all our customers who were affected by the long lines and delay in service for Disability Grant Assessments on February 19, 2021.”
Sassa said that day, the office had booked 50 clients – of which 40 arrived and were assessed. “Sassa officials were at the site from the morning and started screening and entering clients onto the Disability Management records. Indeed, their doctor arrived slightly late due to unforeseen circumstances, but their queue marshals were constantly updating our clients on the delay and confirming when they would be assisted,” the agency said.
For further details, Sassa can be contacted on 033 846 3400 (regional office) and the customer care number is 0800 60 10 11 (toll-free during office hours).