President And National Minister Remain Silent On SASSA Debacle

According to source from mycapetown.co.za — Cape Town Community News and Directory, it states that the President of South Africa and the National Minister Remain silent on South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

Whilst we welcome the announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa last night, pertaining to the easing of the Alert Level 3 Restrictions, the President’s silence regarding the SASSA debacle and lack of information to our most vulnerable citizens regarding the SRD R350 grant, is deeply concerning.

On Monday, 1 February 2021, the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, met with SASSA’s regional branch to follow up on the progress made in dealing with the more than 53 000 Temporary Disability Grants (TPGs) and Care Dependency Grants that were suspended by the national agency, across the Western Cape, at the end of December 2020.

Minister Fernandez said, “I raised serious concerns, that if the numerous challenges experienced by SASSA are not addressed, will lead to a humanitarian crisis-not only in the Western Cape, but across the country.

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I urge President Cyril Ramaphosa and the National Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, to prioritize addressing the series of challenges facing SASSA, overall.”

This is not the first time the Western Cape Government has called for an urgent intervention regarding the challenges faced by SASSA that include amongst others; their inability to manage the enormous turn out of grant applicants- as they still only have nine doctors in the Western Cape to conduct medical assessments required for the activation of temporary Disability Grants; the lack of staff at local offices to process grant applications, and not providing any form of immediate assistance such as food relief or vouchers to affected citizens whilst waiting for their Temporary Disability Grants to be assessed and their respective special Covid19 SRD grant applications to be completed.

Minister Fernandez added, “I remain deeply concerned about the lack of communication regarding the termination of the COVID19 SRD R350 grant. This is despite my request for an urgent MINMEC to appraise all provinces on the way forward.

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The shortage of doctors in the province remains a challenge. There are currently nine SASSA doctors, with one additional doctor’s services secured since we last met, which means that there is only a total of ten doctors, to conduct the medical assessments for 48 235 people in the province.

This is despite the fact that SASSA indicated that National Treasury permitted them to secure the services of approximately 500 doctors, who initially indicated their willingness to assist.

The lack of doctors has a direct impact on the number of assessments conducted, which despite SASSA’s assurances that the backlog will be finalized by 31st March 2020, is unachievable in my opinion.

SASSA highlighted that the following progress has been made as at 29 January 2021.

Of the 52 323 Disability grants that have lapsed, 4088 have been assessed. Therefore, 48 235 beneficiaries have still had not been assessed and thus, have not received any form of payment.

SASSA has committed to meeting the provincial Department of Social Development fortnightly, to provide an update on the progress being made to address their current challenges.

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“Intervention is needed urgently! I fear that thousands of citizens will experience hunger, exacerbating the humanitarian crises staring us in the face,” concluded Minister Fernandez.

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