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SASSA queues: Calls for minister to resign

SASSA queues: Calls for minister to resign

The national opposition and the Western Cape government have both demanded that Lindiwe Zulu – the Social Development Minister – is held accountable for a chaotic approach to managing the temporary disability grants. The payments lapsed this month, leaving hundreds of thousands of SASSA clients without financial support.

Things have unravelled extremely quickly for SASSA, culminating in some disheartening scenes on Tuesday afternoon. Huge queues formed outside of the department’s offices in the Western Cape and KZN, creating some very serious health concerns during this pandemic. The story of how we got here is beyond bemusing…

  • This month, SASSA suspended more than 210 000 temporary disability grants and care dependency grants.
  • Persons with disabilities were told they would have to reapply for their grants ‘in-person’, despite soaring COVID-19 rates.
  • Applicants were also informed to bring an updated medical note with them, approved by a registered doctor.
  • This chaotic plan caused massive queues outside SASSA offices, creating potential super-spreader events.
  • Elderly and infirmed recipients have been left to sleep on the streets, and wait in lines for hours in the scorching heat.

The DA, as you would expect, isn’t best pleased with the sight of desperate citizens having risk their own well-being to prove they are entitled to this disability grant from SASSA. Bridget Masango is the Shadow Minister for Social Development, and she has issued an ultimatum: “Zulu must face a Parliamentary inquiry, or resign…”

“While South Africa is struggling to cope with a second wave resurgence of Covid-19 infections, hundreds of desperate and vulnerable social grant beneficiaries queued for hours at South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices across the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal to re-apply for their lapsed disability grants.”

“The massive queues at SASSA offices are potential Covid-19 super spreaders and Lindiwe Zulu must take full responsibility for how all of this has unfolded. Minister Zulu to come of hiding and appear before Parliament to account for her failures. If she cannot do this, the minister must step down.”

DA Shadow Minister for Social Development, Bridget Masango

These changes have taken a serious toll in the Western Cape, where over 50 000 people have had their relief funds stopped. More than 25% of the temporary disability grants go to citizens in this province, and Gillion Bosman – a representative of the regional government – has accused Lindiwe Zulu of ‘violating basic human rights’.

“For residents of the Western Cape, and Minister Lindiwe Zulu is allowing for the lapse of at least 52 000 disability grants. This number represents the very means to live for persons with disabilities in the province, who will be unable to access the funds they need to survive. This is unacceptable, and tantamount to an infringement on the rights of residents.”

“The lapsing of these grants has led to a desperate situation. Individuals have to seek medical certificates and reapply at SASSA application venues, all at a time when our health sector is under strain and Covid-19 infections are rife – but more resources are put into patrolling quiet beaches than ensuring Covid-19 protocols are being followed at SASSA offices.”

DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Social Development, Gillion Bosman


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