File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance has requested an urgent meeting with South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) acting CEO Abraham Mahlangu on why qualifying beneficiaries have been turned away from Sassa offices when trying to apply for their grants, the party said on Sunday.

The DA had received many calls, messages, and emails from beneficiaries who had been denied access to social grants because Sassa "cannot capture biometric applications", DA spokeswoman Bridget Masango said on Sunday.

"Some people have waited since June to access their grants. There is already a significant backlog in the capturing of data which could reach crisis levels by the end of September," she said.

Sassa’s Roodepoort branch in Gauteng and many others across the country were allegedly not accepting new applications because of problems with their biometric systems and recipients were reportedly told their applications could not be backdated.

For millions of South Africans, social grants were the only source of income. Children, the elderly, and the disabled were especially vulnerable and it appeared that there was still no plan to ensure they could apply for grants and receive their grants on time.

"That qualifying beneficiaries are denied the opportunity to register and receive social grants means the difference between putting food on the table or going hungry. The DA will ensure that we get answers from Sassa about their failure to give beneficiaries the money they are entitled to as well as their failure to assist them as required," Masango said.

African News Agency/ANA