Ricochet News

'Uitenhage Sassa service office buckling under pressure'

Jun 12, 2018
'Uitenhage Sassa service office buckling under pressure'

Public frustration is mounting in Uitenhage over government's inability to process thousands of social grants recipient information in order for them to be issued with new grant cards and direct bank transfers, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Tuesday.

According to the party, this is the second largest Sassa office in the Eastern Cape, and it is buckling under the large volumes of administration, verifications, data capturing and issuing of new Sassa cards after the Department of Social Development was instructed to phase out the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and phase in the new service providers including commercial banks and the South African Post Office (SAPO) to manage grant payments. 

"Any glitch in the system means disaster for the 17 million South African families who rely on social grants for their only income," said Kobus Botha (MPL), DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Social Development.

He said that last week Friday, 8 June 2018, he visited the Uitenhage branch of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in response to numerous complaints from the public.

"This office is the second largest local social service office in the province and under normal conditions, the staff attends to between 100 and 130 people seeking various social assistance programmes per day.

"A shortage of staff, overcrowding, lack of seating, bad ventilation and poor access for persons with physical disabilities were only some of the complaints. I witnessed staff and the public buckling under pressure to process new application forms, verification requirements, data capturing and approval processes before grants can be released," Botha added.

"It is my view that this situation has become dire due to a lack proper planning by the Department of Social Development (DSD). The influx of thousands of renewals should have been anticipated, irrespective of maintaining the daily demands for existing social services.

"The office services the surrounding areas of Amanzi, Despatch,  Khayamnandi, KwaNobuhle, Kruisrivier and Rocklands without any additional resources.

"It is clear that the ANC and the DSD top management has failed in operational planning hence the current mayhem."

Botha said that he has written a letter to his DA colleague in the National Assembly, Bridget Masango MP (Shadow Minister for Social Development), to establish why the KwaNobuhle Local Social Service Office is still not open despite claims that it would be operational in 2015.

" The DA will also enquire why no provision has been made for additional staff to cope with the demand of this transition model."