This statement follows an oversight inspection by the DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP, DA North Durban Constituency Chairperson, Rory MacPherson, and DA public representatives to the Phoenix SASSA Office in KwaZulu-Natal. Please find attached English and IsiZulu soundbites by Ms Masango. Pictures can be found here, here, here and here.
Today, the DA conducted oversight inspections at the Pinetown, Phoenix and Standerton SASSA Offices in KwaZulu-Natal. The visits follow SASSA’s recent migration from CPS to the new South African Post Office (SAPO) distribution system.
The DA wanted to assess whether the challenges in the new distribution system has been fixed and the general quality of services available to our people.
At the Pinetown office, the SASSA district manager admitted that they had experienced a number of issues with the initial rollout of the new distribution system as a number of people did not receive their grants.
Long queues are also a major challenge at the Pinetown office due to its central location and the office servicing a vast area. As a result, the operating hours at the office has been extended to ensure that every beneficiary receives the help they require.
At the Phoenix Office, social grants recipients also shared their frustrations regarding long queues. In 2016, the SASSA office in Verulam closed. As a result, beneficiaries have no alternative but to travel from Verulam to Phoenix for assistance.
The increased volume of beneficiaries at the Phoenix office is very concerning. Travel costs and long waiting hours are not only frustrating, but it can also have devastating consequences on social grants recipients who are often frail and among the most vulnerable people in our society.
It is no secret that grants recipients are often on the receiving end of poor and undignified services because the uncaring ANC government which have forgotten about their plight and continues to fail them. It is no secret that neither SASSA nor SAPO had adequate plans in place for the switch to the new system leaving beneficiaries to bear the brunt of the government’s failures.
The DA calls on the Department of Social Development to show leadership, put beneficiaries first and fix the challenges at the SASSA offices in KwaZulu-Natal