SASSA meeting provides valuable insights
I welcome and appreciate the transparent way in which Western Cape and national management from SASSA responded to concerns the provincial Department of Social Development team and I raised during a long-anticipated meeting yesterday. I am pleased with the amicable relationship we continue to cultivate.
I would like to implore National Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to make herself available for further engagements with SASSA, so that she can hear firsthand what I have been hearing from countless SASSA beneficiaries, who are not experiencing the level of service that they have a right to.
In yesterday’s meeting I shared the laundry list of problems my team and I have picked up during oversight visits at SASSA offices across the province, and from the numerous complaints our office receives from grant beneficiaries.
Among the issues:
- A gap in communication: Between DSD and SASSA, and between SASSA and clients
- Queue management at SASSA offices are ineffectual;
- Postbank system glitches lead to delays in funds appearing in beneficiaries’ accounts;
- A greater footprint is required - more service points to ensure vulnerable citizens do not have to travel far to access a SASSA office and spend much of the welfare grants on transport;
- Load-shedding stalls service delivery at SASSA offices;
- Infrastructure challenges at shared DSD & SASSA spaces.
SASSA WC has committed to look into our concerns, especially those we encountered during visits to the local offices. SASSA says:
- Postbank’s systems have been stabilized, IT infrastructure challenges have been resolved, connectivity challenges have been minimized and IT security bolstered;
- SASSA’s communication strategy requires improvement: Better communication between SASSA WC and provincial DSD; Targeted communication educating beneficiaries on the various ways they can access money;
- SASSA has committed to look into the complaints we receive from beneficiaries in a bid to improve service delivery and ensure people are treated with dignity;
- Load-shedding: SASSA is procuring inverters and batteries; tablets and sim-cards have been provided to staff at some offices;
- Closed service points in the Cape Town Metro: SASSA is waiting on final Memorandum of Understanding and Occupational Health and Safety certificates from the City of Cape Town.
This isn’t a once-off engagement. SASSA WC has committed to regular meetings with us to ensure the lines of communication remain open. In this way we will foster an effective working relationship benefiting vulnerable beneficiaries who rely on us to be their mouthpiece.
Let me be clear: our fight is not with SASSA management, but with national government whose duty it is to ensure the millions of South Africans dependent on grants receive good quality services and are treated WITH DIGNITY. I call on Minister Zulu to follow this example of transparency and urgency. We’re doing our part, and since SASSA is your responsibility… please do yours.