Lack of SASSA pay points puts further financial pressure on grant dependents
5 March 2021
The Northern Cape’s ongoing lack of SASSA services has prompted the Democratic Alliance (DA) to fight for alternative pay points for forgotten rural towns.
It is unacceptable that places like Hondeklip Bay have no SASSA service, and recipients must hire transport to Springbok at R1200, or to Garies and Kleinzee at R700, to receive their pension payouts of R1890. The people of Soebatsfontein, Spoeg River, Lepelsfontein and Klipfontein face a similar situation.
What is left of grant payouts – after expenses incurred to obtain them – is to cry about and places an increasing number of households at an eternal stranglehold of need.
Even more so, given the rise in living costs as well as under inflation grant increases. Prices of basic food items like rice, sugar, flour and cornflour have risen by 68%, with the most basic basket of necessities already said to cost over R4 051,20. This is more than what 60% of the country's working class earns.
To make matters worse, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced that SASSA grants would be increased by only R1 per day for the elderly and R10 per month, or 33 cents per day, for the child grant. Ten rand isn’t enough for a loaf of bread, while 33 cents can’t even buy a single piece of candy. What then of the R460 child allowance, that can’t even secure a can of milk, at R370, plus a pack of diapers, at R170, let alone take care of medicine, clothes, school fees and taxi fare?
Increasing financial pressure on vulnerable people is plunging them deeper into poverty.
I will be raising the matter in parliament and asking the National Department of Social Development to promptly address the lack of SASSA pay points in the province.
Free of charge transport could be provided, roving mobile units could be dispatched, and arrangements with existing institutions, that can facilitate payment on behalf of SASSA, could be entered into. Payment to beneficiaries via bank accounts could also be expanded, but in this case, additional bank charges should be waived.
Regardless of what measures are ultimately taken, all grant beneficiaries, regardless of where they live, deserve to be able to direct the full value of their grant towards sustaining themselves and their families.
Issued by Gizella Opperman, Member of Portfolio Committee on Social Development, 5 March 2021