Ricochet News

'Elderly made to suffer at SASSA branch in Mthatha' DA

Jul 6, 2018
'Elderly made to suffer at SASSA branch in Mthatha' DA

In Mthatha, the aged, people with disabilities and women with babies are being made to suffer while the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) struggles with its migration to the South African Post Office (SAPO), the Democratic Alliance (DA) said.

"Yesterday, Thursday, I conducted an oversight inspection of the SASSA branch in Mthatha and was deeply concerned after hearing some of the horror stories from the most vulnerable people in our society," said Chantel King MP - DA Phesheya Kwenciba Constituency Leader.

"Extremely long queues snaked through the building and it was clear that neither SASSA or SAPO have been adequately prepared for the switch to the new system."

King said that she witnessed women with babies, people with disbilites and the elderly sitting in these queues for hours waiting to be assisted.

"While interacting with the community I was shocked to find that an elderly man had been returning to the branch for four consecutive days. He explained that only 25 new cards are being issued per day and that is why he’s had to return every day. This causes severe financial constraints on aged people as taxi fare burns a hole in their pockets," she described.

"One woman also mentioned that the service at this SASSA office is very poor and they have to sit for hours in long queues just to go home without any help.

"The branch manager placed the blame on SAPO and highlighted that the Post Office network is very slow."

King said that apparently, SAPO can only serve 10 people at a time and allows only a certain amount of money to be withdrawn.

"This leads to people running out of cash while they still have money available."

She said that the Department of Social Development (DSD) is failing the people of Mthatha, the Eastern Cape and South Africa.

"I will write to Bridget Masango DA-MP (Shadow Minister for Social Development), to assist me to establish from the DSD why there is no assistance for this office while the people suffer."