NEWS & ANALYSIS

Roodepoort SASSA Office turning away grant beneficiaries - Bridget Masango

DA MP says this is because officials are refusing to do the necessary biometric testing

People who qualify for social grants turned away from Roodepoort SASSA Office

Note to Editors: This statement follows an oversight inspection by the Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP, and DA Team One SA Spokesperson on Basic Services, Makashule Gana MPL, to the Roodepoort Local South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) Office.

Please find attached English and isiZulu soundbites by Ms Masango, as well as Englishand XiTsonga soundbites by Mr Gana.

Today, the DA conducted an oversight inspection at the Roodepoort Local SASSA Office following reports that qualifying social grants applicants are being turned away because SASSA employees are refusing to do biometric testing.

We spoke to qualifying grants applicants who told us how frustrated they were with the lack of answers from SASSA and the challenges they face because of the problems with the biometric system.

Several beneficiaries, including an elderly man and woman who qualify for disability grants, said they had been turned away and not received any grants as a result. Although new cards were issued at Roodepoort, some people have reportedly gone for months without having received any money. There are also very long lines at the office, the system to process applications is often offline and there is a lack of doctors to assess beneficiaries.

It became evident from our discussions with SASSA employees at the office that the agency has not put any contingency plans in place to ensure that biometric testing would be done for new applications.

This despite the fact that SASSA had been aware for some time that this function would need to be institutionalised. Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) previously carried out biometric testing and identification for new applicants – a service which they were paid for.

However, the CPS contract was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court and SASSA migrated to the South African Post Office (SAPO). Given this, SASSA employees were meant to carry out biometric testing.

SASSA is already facing massive backlogs in the capturing of biometric data.

The biometric challenges are not just restricted to Roodepoort, the DA has been inundated with calls and messages from all over the country from beneficiaries who have been denied access to desperately needed social grants as far back as June.

Social grants recipients are among the most vulnerable people in our society. Any delay in accessing grants could be the difference between vulnerable children and the elderly having food on the table or not.

The DA will continue to go to every corner of South Africa to expose how the failing ANC government mistreats vulnerable citizens. Our people deserve to have access to quality and dignified social services which the ANC government is incapable of providing.

Statement issued by Bridget Masango MP, DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, 5 October 2018