#SASSA leaves grant recipients hungry and stranded

Issued by Bridget Masango MP – DA Shadow Minister of Social Development
04 Jul 2018 in News

The statement follows an oversight inspection to the SASSA pay point at Zolani Centre in Nyanga township by the DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP, DA National Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi MP, and the DA Member of the NCOP on Social Development, Thandi Mpambo-Sibukwana MP. Please find a video here, pictures here and here and soundbites by Ms Masango in English and Ms Mpambo-Sibukwanahere in IsiXhosa

Today the DA visited the SASSA pay point at Zolani Centre in Nyanga, Cape Town. We met with social grant recipients who shared concerns about the new SASSA cash grants system. Last month, SASSA employees embarked on a strike which raised concerns on the impact it could have on the process of beneficiaries switching to new cards.

On Tuesday, these fears became a reality as reports surfaced that a number of cash grants recipients across the country have been turned away from pay points, as a result of “system failures”.

This was also confirmed by one beneficiary the DA spoke to at the Zolani Centre who told the DA that he was not able to access his grants at pay point because he still has his old card. The recipient was then directed to the South African Post Office (SAPO) where he still could not access their grants.

This is deeply concerning and despite repeated empty promises from successive Ministers of Social Developments who have claimed that grant recipients would still be able to access their grants until the old card expires on 30 September 2018.

Clearly, neither SASSA nor SAPO have been adequately prepared for the switch to the new system. Any delays in beneficiaries accessing their grants could have catastrophic consequences for the survival of poor families who rely on grants just to get by.

This crisis dates back to the time of former Minister of Social Development, Bathabile ‘Dodging’ Dlamini. It was due to her lack of leadership that SASSA stumbled from one crisis to the next. Her successor, Susan Shabangu, seems to have followed in her footsteps as she has not stepped up to take charge.

Grant recipients have now been dealt a double blow by the ANC-government. Not only are some beneficiaries not getting their grants but the cost of living is on the rise.

This year alone there have been 5 fuel hikes and South Africans will now pay over R16 per litre for petrol and the cost of illuminating paraffin is also set to increase. This is on top of the anti-poor VAT increase earlier this year. This has had a massive impact on the price of food and public transport.

South Africans continue to be burdened by the ANC’s corruption and their failure to shield the most vulnerable from the successive cost of living increases.

The DA strongly opposed the VAT and fuel increases as it is anti-poor and proposed that the Child Support Grant, especially, be increased above the food poverty line.

Our proposal to increase the Child Support Grant was rejected by the ANC. This comes as no surprise, as the ANC continues to punish the poor for their mismanagement and poor governance.

The DA will continue to fight for the dignity of social grants recipients as the continued turmoil at the agency has serious consequences on the livelihoods of the poor and most vulnerable.