SASSA is already facing technical difficulties soon after launching it's online application portal which is said to be a relief to grant applicants as it will save them the inconvenience of standing in queues at SASSA offices in order to apply for their grants.
DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango, said, "This new initiative of SASSA to create an online avenue for all types of grant applications must not fall into the same trap as the online application process for the Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant of R350 that left the agency’s phone and email lines clogged with thousands of unanswered queries every day".
The DA does however support and acknowledge efforts put in by SASSA to make lives easier by providing easier access to grants. Masango said that there were already reports of the new applications system not working properly.
This, she says, "does not bode well for SASSA". She then said that the site should be supportyed by a robust IT system which will be able to handle millions of applications and queries as South Africans "must never again wonder whether they will receive their payments on time, if at all".
The political party has therefore now asked for the Department to draw up a report for the Portfolio Committee after the trial ends on 25 September saying whether the system was successful.
SASSA has launched an online applications tool for grants. This will save a lot of individual's time and energy with not being stuck in snaking queues which take hours. This portal can be accessed through computers and cellphones. Applications can be lodged on https://services.sassa.gov.za.
Masango said, "It is SASSA and the DSD’s job to ensure that their promises are kept. A few bugs in a new system is permitted and understood. SRD applicants, however, experienced a tsunami of ineptitude and callousness and that will not be tolerated again".
The Shadow Minister hopes that the agency and Department has learnt from their past mistakes and "seeks to protect and serve South Africa’s most vulnerable instead of leaving them in desperation".
Masango seems to be correct in her warnings to SASSA and cautions as the agency does not have the best record when it comes to proper systems and fulfilling promises made to South Africans. The latest story which would make many shake their head at the agency is that of SASSA paying social grants to 579 individuals in Namibia as part of a 1994 bilateral agreement with no termination date.
This bilateral agreement was signed on 19 April 1994 by the governments of South Africa and Namibia. This agreement sees South Africa having to continue to disburse social grants tocitizens who lived in Walvis Bay when the agreement was signed, which Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, said has no termination date.
It has been reported that, "It is not known what number of these hold dual citizenship."