Only 90 SASSA offices to receive alternative power supply

Issued by Alexandra Abrahams MP – Deputy Shadow Minister for Social Development
20 Apr 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Alexandra Abrahams MP

Only 90 “critical local SASSA offices country wide (ten per region)” will receive an alternative power supply by the end of the 2023/24 financial year.

In response to a written parliamentary question posed by the DA, the Minister for Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, has revealed that alternative power supply will be rolled out at selected SASSA offices by 1 October 2023 at a cost of R29 million.

There are 46 district and 389 local SASSA offices country wide which serves the ever-increasing number of social grant beneficiaries, which, as at December 2022, stood at 11 749 746 beneficiaries receiving 18 778 922 social grants as per the 2023/24 SASSA Annual Performance Plan. These figures exclude the 8.2 million poverty-stricken South Africans receiving the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant (as at February 2023) – more than 13 million people applied.

As with every sector in South Africa, loadshedding has placed enormous strain on SASSA’s ability to perform its administrative functions and attend to beneficiaries.

Confirmed during oversight visits to SASSA offices, systems go offline multiple times a day depending on the loadshedding stage. In some offices, there is no natural light which mean officials cannot assist clients in those offices due to total darkness. The capturing of information onto the SASSA system is halted during loadshedding contributing to ever-escalating backlogs.

These administrative shortcomings essentially mean SASSA beneficiaries will have to wait longer before they eventually receive their grant or resolve an administrative matter.

The DA will submit follow up questions to the Minister as to how the 90 local offices were selected; keep abreast of the procurement and tender processes which the Minister has indicated will be finalised by the end of 30 September 2023; and continually follow up on the planning and rollout of this project to ensure this is not another SASSA pipedream.

The smooth running of the SASSA offices are critical in fulfilling its mandate.

South Africa is in its 16th year of loadshedding and it is about time SASSA offices – which serve the most vulnerable of the South Africa’s population – are prioritised for generators by national government, Minister Zulu and SASSA senior management.