DA to report SASSA to the Human Rights – Bridget Masango

MP says long queues outside offices as well as grant delays are inhumane

DA to report SASSA to the Human Rights Commission over inhumane queues outside offices and R350 grant delays

4 June 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will lay a complaint against the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and its CEO, BusisiweMemela-Khambula, with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) regarding its abhorrent treatment of those in its care, especially the elderly and disabled.

SASSA has been bogged down by ineptitude since its inception and the Covid-19 lockdown period has turned the spotlight on its many failings and seeming unwillingness to take the necessary steps to ensure that its beneficiaries are taken care of.

Since the very start of the lockdown, the DA has called on SASSA to fully capacitate its offices in accordance with Covid-19 health and social distancing protocols to assist grant recipients with payment, complaints, queries, and registrations. This has time and again fallen on deaf ears.

Instead of doing the logical and humane thing to assist vulnerable South Africans, SASSA has decided to reopen offices with only 30% of its staff at work and promised to train volunteers to assist people wanting to apply for the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant of R350. The Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, has been saying she wants people to have dignity. There is no dignity in people sleeping outside and waiting forever for the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant.

This has led to desperate elderly people sleeping and queueing in the cold outside SASSA offices for days at a time in an urgent bid to receive their grant. Too many had to return home empty handed without any means to care for their families the following month.

In addition to the inhumane treatment of the vulnerable and elderly, SASSA is now hiding behind technical glitches and empty promises regarding the payment of the R350 special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant. They are grandstanding on the mere 2% of special grant recipients that received payment. This is nothing to brag about, in fact, it only serves as a reminder of their failures.

Thousands of South Africans who are in desperate need for financial assistance have been left in the lurch because of SASSA’s inability to release relevant, timely information about when the rest of the successful applicants will receive the grant money. Nor have they given any indication of when all their highly trained staff will be back at work to help desperate South Africans. They have also been mute on the number of promised volunteers trained to assist people trying to apply for the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant.

South Africans have yet to hear so much as an apology from SASSA for the grief and disruption they cause millions of people every month.

Issued by Bridget Masango,DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, 4 June 2020