SASSA spends half a million on function while grant beneficiaries suffer

Issued by Bridget Masango MP – DA Shadow Minister of Social Development
04 Jun 2023 in News

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

It seems the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, is trying to downplay the R1.5 million the SASSA Free State Regional Office spent on its international women’s day event on 28 March 2023.

In answer [] to a written parliamentary question from the DA, the Minister revealed that SASSA saw fit to squander more than R185 000 on a venue, more than R43 000 on a sound and PA system, and almost R228 000 on the catering. A further R32 000 went to the service fees for the travel agent.

It is puzzling why SASSA and the Minister has qualms in revealing how the R1 million for gifts were spent. Instead of providing the necessary information, they simply stated that “SASSA Free State did not procure gifts from the budget of the institution”.

The DA has thus submitted further questions to ascertain from which budget SASSA procured the gifts for the event, the nature and number of the gifts, and their total cost.

Since the DA first revealed this scandal in May, it has come to light that more than half a billion rand has been stolen from SASSA the past decade, yet consequence management in the same period has been minimal and inconsistently monitored and reported on.

It has also come to light that National Treasury reallocated R9.162 billion from the Department of Social Development (DSD) due to its failure to spend its 2022/23 budget.

And scores of social grant recipients still have to waste what little money they get on transport to and from SASSA offices in the hopes that this will be the month they get paid on time, despite ongoing problems with SASSA gold card expirations and renewals.

It is time SASSA and DSD prioritised grant beneficiaries. The Department’s failures have a very serious effect on South Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable.

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