Africa-Press – South-Africa. Cape Town – The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) in the province needs to up its game as far as communication with grant recipients is concerned, according to a senior official.
Sassa regional executive manager Henry de Grasse said: “Sassa’s communications strategy could do with improving both within Sassa and more especially within the Western Cape rural areas.”
De Grasse was speaking during a briefing by Sassa’s regional office to the standing committee on social development that invited Sassa to account for a number of perceived failings worrying members about the R350 Covid-19 relief of distress grant.
Committee members Riccardo Mackenzie (DA) and Rachel Windvogel (ANC) pressed for an answer on Sassa’s communication strategy, especially with its grant recipients who end up queueing in post offices around the province the whole day long, only to be told they would not receive their payments.
De Grasse said: “The main problem is when people receive the notification that they have been approved.
“They are so desperate that they don’t wait for the second SMS to say they must go to the post office and collect and so insist on going to the post office.
“I myself have walked up and down the queues to inform them that they must wait for the SMS, but they will not move out of the queue until they get to the counter and hear the message from the teller that there is no money for them.
“That’s the unfortunate situation that we are facing,” said De Grasse.
In answer to committee member Ayanda Bans (ANC), who asked when the R350 grants would end, Sassa’s executive manager grants administration, Dianne Dunkerly, said: “The information we have is that the grant will end at the end of January 2021.
“The policy decisions about whether it can be made a permanent grant are not within Sassa’s scope, unfortunately. We provide input to those making the decision, but it is not our decision. At the end of the day it comes down to an affordability question,” said Dunkerly.
Regional executive manager Bandile Maqetuka said: “The interventions we are employing to mitigate against such shortcomings include identifying the hot spot SA Post Office outlets that have long queues and often have challenges in terms of people getting their money.”