SASSA: DA Calls For Clarity On Grants

Woman at SASSA Offices

The DA has called for SASSA to clarify why there is a lack of funds available for an extension of the temporary disability grants, which were suspended at the end of December. 

At the end of December the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) suspended over 200 000 temporary disability grants. In a statement SASSA said the reason behind this was that the period of extension that they awarded previously had expired and that they did not have enough funds available to extend this grant again. 

The Democratic Alliance (DA), a South African political party, was not pleased with this reasoning and the party's MP Bridget Masango called for an urgent meeting with Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Social Development.  

Masango wanted clarity on why there is a lack of funds for this grant when there was a budget set out for each grant type. 

SASSA's executive manager responsible for grants administration, Dianne Dunkerley said the Agency only has R411 million of the R1.2 billion which is needed to extend the payments of this grant. 

Masango says that SASSA should have anticipated the extension of lapsing the temporary disability grant payments after the announcement of the continuation of the Covid-19 lockdown. 

She also says that SASSA should have done more in 2020 to ensure that applications for this grant were processed and that the SASSA offices had enough workers to assist in these processes. 

More medical personnel should have been made available to undertake the assessments of these beneficiaries so as to avoid the backlog which has been caused, said Masango. 

The DA asks for clarity from SASSA on the following:

  • The amount of beneficiaries being assessed in each province and how SASSA plans to increase the capacity to process each application.
  • The amount of applications that will be processed each day to deal with the backlog and the amount of time it will take to clear these completely. 
  • The number of doctors and medical personnel that have been hired in each province and whether this will be sufficient to effectively deal with the backlog
  • The employment of easy and easily accessible online applications for this grant, for those able to access the internet. 
  • The reimplementation of the SASSA volunteers and community activists who are meant to help those unable to access online platforms so that they don’t have to expose themselves to Covid-19 in long lines at SASSA offices. 
  • How SASSA plans to cover the financial cost of getting rid of the backlog.

Masango said that SASSA must urgently consult with National Treasury to find a solution as many of the beneficiaries of this grant cannot afford to wait for a long period of time. 

"To put it bluntly; without their grant payments many people will starve."-DA, MP Bridget Masango. 

 She emphasizes that the solution to this issue cannot be that SASSA beneficiaries do not receive payment as it is not their fault that this issue exists. 

"SASSA must suffer the consequences – not the grant recipients who have spent days in the wind and the rain in the hopes of being one of only 50 to be allowed entry in the offices to try and solve their desperation, and are too scared to return home because they have to face the hunger of their children," said Masango. 

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