NEWS & ANALYSIS

Chaos ensues at post offices due to SASSA payments – DA KZN

People waiting hours to collect govt hand-outs, with no social distancing practised

Minister must urgently intervene as chaos ensues at KZN post offices due to SASSA payments

30 July 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is extremely concerned by the impact of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) decision to pay out R350 Unemployment (SRD) grants at Post Offices across the country.

Currently, bulk SMSs are being sent out to millions of KZN’s most vulnerable citizens, resulting in absolute chaos at the province’s post offices.

The DA has been reliably informed that not only are people waiting hours, if not all day, to collect their meagre government hand-out, but social distancing is also not being enforced or practiced (view here and here). This at the height of a global health pandemic.

Further concerns around the method of payment include grant recipients being told to collect their funds and then being turned away because their money is not yet available or due to the fact that a specific Post Office is not assisting with these payments.

This is the case in Howick where Umgeni residents are being told to collect their payments in Pietermaritzburg. Depending on where they reside within the district, taxi fare can then cost as much as R31 a trip -  which they must pay out of just R350 per month.

This is simply unacceptable as is waiting all day in a queue, only for the Post Office to close and then having to go back again the following day in the hope of receiving their grant.

One of the payment methods that SASSA and the President himself spoke of, was using e-Wallet type systems provided by banking institutions. Yet, to date, SASSA has failed to meet with banks to sign the necessary agreements in order to access this facility. Instead, it has burdened the South African Post Office which is clearly unable to provide a sufficient service.

SASSA has an obligation to account to the provincial legislature and the DA will today call on KZN’s Social Development chairperson, Hon Swartbooi-Ntombela, to arrange that its representatives urgently appear before the portfolio committee to outline their plan of action in this regard.

The DA will also write to Minister Lindiwe Zulu today, to call for SASSA to get its act together within the next seven days. In the event that the Minister does not heed our call, the DA in KZN will be forced to go the drastic route of reporting this matter to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

The DA expects urgent steps to be taken to rectify the current situation. Millions of people reliant on this grant are literally starving.

Issued by Elma Rabe,DA KZN Spokesperson on Social Development, 30 July 2020