During the Covid lockdown, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) implemented a ban on home visits. Home visits typically service applicants who may be bedridden and those over 75.
Following an oversight inspection to the Soshanguve SASSA office, the DA reported a terrible situation for those relying on the social grants there.
The DA reported that the Nafcoc SASSA office in Soshanguve does not have enough capacity to service the number of people forced to queue every month in order to access their grants.
When the DA arrived for their oversight inspection, they were met with people who had been queueing since 2 am. Some people had even slept there the night before. The queues were filled with people hoping to receive help with various kinds of grants – young people, older people, people with babies who were just days old, people on crutches and blind people were some of those encountered. The DA reported that those queueing complained that their queries were largely left unresolved, that security guards were running the office, and that rude SASSA officials and doctors declined applications without proper examinations.
It is apparent from the DA’s reports about the visit, that SASSA needs to be capacitated with more client-facing employees. Post-Covid grant applications have increased while the staff complement has stayed the same, and while the home-visit ban has not been lifted.
“The disconnect between the brilliant PowerPoint presentations we receive in Parliament and the lack of implementation of services on the ground is characteristic of an ANC government who does not truly care about South Africans in need. The situation at Soshanguve is inhumane. And sadly, it is not the exception but rather the rule” says DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP.
“The DA will submit Parliamentary questions to ascertain when the Minister for Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, and SASSA will lift the home visit ban; and what plans the Agency has to capacitate its offices in order to address the endless queues and staff shortages” added Ms Masango.