At the end of December 2020, SASSA suspended a total of 210 778 disability grants nationally of which, more than 53 000 Temporary Disability Grants (TPGs) have been suspended across the Western Cape.
“Despite my request to convene an urgent special meeting with all MECs present, to address the series of ongoing challenges faced by SASSA, the National Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, has failed to respond to my request.
I wrote to Minister Zulu’s office on 12th January 2021, and sent a follow-up request on the 21st of January 2021, to which I have still received no formal response,” said Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.
"I am worried about the lack of urgency to address valid concerns, which include amongst others; whether there are plans to address the immediate needs of many applicants, who desperately require emergency assistance such as food relief or vouchers whilst waiting for their Temporary Disability Grants to be assessed and their respective special Covid19 SRD grant applications to be completed?" added Minister Fernandez.
"My immediate concern is that the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, is a new process that requires an application form to be completed. It will take time to process these applications whilst thousands of vulnerable citizens wait, without any form of income. SASSA has failed to take this into account in their respective plans," continued Minister Fernandez.
In terms of SRD, SASSA indicated that they no longer issue food parcels or food vouchers, as this initiative was replaced by the special COVID19 SRD grant. For those individuals who have been successful in their application for the special COVID SRD grants, they will have money deposited directly into their accounts via EFT.
"We need urgent clarity on the abovementioned concerns, as our most vulnerable citizens continue to bear the brunt SASSA’s incompetence and obfuscation in this matter," concluded Minister Fernandez.