Minister Lindiwe Zulu Responds To SASSA Queues
Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu says plans are in place to prevent long lines at SASSA offices and paypoints, so that people may be in compliance with the Covid-19 health and safety regulations.
Over the past week SASSA offices have experienced long lines due to people renewing their temporary disability grants, as SASSA disabled 200 000 of them as the extension of these grants ended.
On Friday in Cape Town, the Belville SASSA office had hundreds of people queuing outside to renew their temporary disability grants. These people were however were not social distancing which resulted in police intervention.
The police turned a water cannon on the crowd after instructing them to socially distance and giving them very little time to comply. They came under fire for using such force, because many in the lines were people living with disabilities.
The Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu said that her department should have made better plans for the long queues which were expected so as to avoid all the chaos that was seen in Belville.
Zulu says that currently there is no alternative system to renew applications except for people to visit SASSA offices.
She says that the department is exploring plans for different alternatives, which will ensure that there is compliance with Covid-19 health and safety regulations, especially now that South Africa is experiencing the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Zulu says that the effects of Covid-19 has caused many of these challenges to exist as there are delays in people obtaining their medical examinations because doctor's offices have been occupied with Covid-19 patients.
The Minister says that SASSA needs to improve its system so that people are sent an SMS letting them know when they should visit the offices. This would help to control the numbers of people at the offices at the same time.
Zulu says that department has requested that SASSA staff be allowed to work overtime and they have been trying to get additional staff to assist the processes.
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