SASSA still failing beneficiaries

Issued by Bridget Masango MP – DA Shadow Minister of Social Development
09 Jan 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Bridget Masango MP.

The Democratic Alliance continues to be inundated, for the third month in a row, by calls from social grant beneficiaries whose grants have not been paid.

This, after South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and Postbank issued statements to say the glitches would be resolved.  One would think that after the November grant payment  fiasco all identified glitches would be fixed by the December payment run.  This has clearly not been the case and grant beneficiaries who depend on this money spent the festive season without any source of income.

The internal communication in SASSA alluded to the “unavailability of the Integrated Grant Payment System (IGPS) service that would affect all SASSA Gold Card holders trying to access their monies across all the available channels including South African Post Office (SAPO) outlets and the CPPs “The internal memo also claimed “Mzansi beneficiaries as well Social Relieve Distress (SRD) beneficiaries will be able to transact through ATM, Point Of Sale (POS) as well as SAPO branches”.

The enquiries received speaks to a grant payment ecosystem that is running without proper leadership, political will and care for the poor and vulnerable.

Furthermore SASSA office servicing large parts of Tshwane, situated in Soshanguve has effectively not been operational since November 2022.  A summarized list of problems that have brought operations to a standstill in that office include, and are not limited to:

  • Backlog of new applications since October not captured;
  • No stock of cards;
  • The system is off since November, meaning there is no work being done by SASSA officials;
  • Recipients being turned away the whole of December;
  • They are only dealing with queries using one laptop that belongs to a supervisor;
  • Despite the branch logging a call with their IT since November no one has bothered to attend to the biometrics system (ref no. 100291334-Nov & 100291964-Dec).

It is not inconceivable that there are other offices who are in the same situation, judging from calls from applicants and beneficiaries who claim no response from SASSA call centre via SMS, telephone or emails.  How are people, dependent on this  income expected to make a living from the already meagre social grant, if they can’t get hold of anyone from SASSA.

It is time for the Minister of Social Development to go back to the drawing board and heed the provisions of the SASSA Act and institutionalise the payment of grants – which is the whole reason SASSA was established 16 years ago.

The DA will pay a follow up oversight visit at SASSA office in Soshanguve next week to get to the bottom of the crisis being ignored by the Minister and SASSA – which crisis affects no less than 18 million South Africans.