The Democratic Alliance is concerned by reports we are receiving from social grant beneficiaries across the country related to “glitches” in the system which have resulted in many of them being turned away from pay points.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the South African Post Office (SAPO) appear to have been ill-prepared for the changes to the new payment system which has now caused delays in payments to beneficiaries.
We have noted the late apology issued by SASSA Acting CEO Abraham Mahlangu yesterday essentially placing the blame on a “systems failure”. This apology is simply not good enough. 2.8 million South Africans are beneficiaries of cash payments and they depend on these to put food on the table. SASSA should have made sure that all pay points had converted to the new system ahead of this month’s grants payments.
Until pay points change to the new system, beneficiaries will not be able to access their funds. Neither SASSA or SAPO can say for certain when they expect this to happen which means millions of people will go hungry for an indefinite period because of SASSA’s negligent behaviour. The DA will not stand by and let this go unchallenged.
Tomorrow, SASSA is due to appear before the Social Development Portfolio Committee and the DA will use this opportunity to get more clarity on behalf of these beneficiaries.
We will also conduct oversight visits at key pay points in order to engage beneficiaries and to assess the severity of the situation ourselves.
This continued chaos at SASSA places further blight on this ANC government and is an indictment on Social Development minister Susan Shabangu. Like her predecessor ‘Dodging Bathabile Dlamini’, she is playing a game of hide and seek by failing to provide leadership in this time of crisis.