This statement follows an oversight inspection by the DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP, and the DA Member of the Social Development Committee, Angel Khanyile MP, to the SASSA De Villiers Street Office in Johannesburg.
Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) visited the SASSA De Villiers Street Office in Johannesburg. The visit follows various complaints from DA activists and councillors that the country’s biggest SASSA office is in complete disarray.
The DA met with the office’s management who informed us that they have experienced a high influx of beneficiaries due to SASSA’s migration to the new grants distribution system. Beneficiaries from all over Johannesburg and surrounding areas travel to the SASSA De Villiers Street Office to have their old CPS/SASSA cards swapped for the new South African Post Office (SAPO) / SASSA cards. This is partly due to the fact that surrounding SASSA offices not having the capacity to process as many beneficiaries.
As a result, long queues and chaos have become the order of the day at the De Villiers Street Office. The blame for the chaos falls squarely at the feet of SASSA and the Department of Social Development (DSD).
This is a critical period for SASSA as 30 September 2018 is the deadline to phase out the illegal CPS contract and to ensure that all is in place for SAPO to take over the distribution of grants. Yet, SASSA offices across the country do not have adequate human resources to handle the migration of the 2.8 million cash grants recipients.
This also has an impact on new grants applications. It cannot be business as usual. The same staff complement cannot be expected to handle both the migration to the new system, as well as processing new applications.
It is clear that there has been no political will on the part of the failing ANC government, as is evident by the lack of contingency plans to assist SASSA staff during this transition period.
The DA is also concerned about reports that some beneficiaries with both the new and old SASSA cards, are still unable to access their social grants. It is now clear that the new SASSA grants distribution system with the SAPO, is a complete disaster.
The long lines at the SASSA De Villiers Street Office in Johannesburg, and indeed the long queues at SASSA offices across the country, is indicative that the ANC government has not put any measures in place to protect vulnerable grants recipients from the impact of not receiving their much-needed money.
The DA will continue to expose the ANC’s poor and undignified treatment of grants beneficiaries. The DA is the only party that can bring the change that is needed to bring stability and dignity to social services for South Africans.