The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has launched a new online application portal for a variety of social grants to avoid long queues and other inconveniences. While the system is currently undergoing a trial, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says there have already been reports of technical issues which does not bode well for the agency.
SASSA LAUNCHES NEW ONLINE APPLICATION PORTAL FOR SOCIAL GRANTS
On Monday 14 September SASSA announced that social grant beneficiaries would be able to apply for certain grants online.
The pilot project, will at this stage, cover the Child Support, Older Persons and Foster Child grants. After reviewing the system, other grants will also be added to the portal.
“This should 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,” it said.
“The added advantage is that the convenience of online applications eliminates the risk of being infected with the COVID-19 virus because there will be no need to gather at public places in order to apply,” it added.
The remote self-service may be accessed on a computer, as well as, a mobile phone and should have a turnaround time of 10 days, provided the applicant supplies all the relevant documentation such as identity documents and banking details, among others.
The testing of the system will run from 14 September to 25 September 2020. All supporting documents that are attached also need to be certified.
DA SAYS SASSA MUST NOT FOLLOW PREVIOUS FAILURES
DA Shadow Minister of Social Development Bridget Masango released a statement on Tuesday 15 September saying that while the DA welcomes SASSA’s bid to diversify how citizens can gain access to social grants, it mustn’t fall into the same trap.
“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,” said Masango.
“The fact that there were already reports of the applications site not working properly does not bode well for SASSA,” added Masango.
The DA has called for the Department of Social Development (DSD) and SASSA to table a report before the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Social Development following the trial period to ensure successful implementation of the system.
Citing a need for trained SASSA personnel and a robust IT system, Masango said we can only hope that the agency has learnt from its past mistakes
“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 DA added.