News R350 grant extension: DA blasts SASSA for months of...

R350 grant extension: DA blasts SASSA for months of inefficiencies

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the R350 grants would be extended by a further three months, however, it doesn’t seem convinced that the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) can keep up. 

Ramaphosa made the announcement on Thursday 15 October while he delivered the country’s latest economic recovery plan. 

R350 GRANTS: ‘WILL SASSA LEAVE MILLIONS IN THE LURCH AGAIN?’ – MASANGO

DA Shadow Minister of Social Development Bridget Masango said the reality is that the previous seven months of the R350 grant has been a complete mess.

“There is little doubt that the intention behind the grant was laudable, however, the implementation was chaotic from the start. Potential beneficiaries had to wait for months to find out if their applications had been approved, while others have still not received a cent. Beneficiaries who were lucky enough to receive grants at the start of SRD implementation, have since been removed from the list for seemingly arbitrary reasons,” said Masango. 

Masango listed some of SASSA’s issues in recent months; 

  • The partial capacitation of SASSA offices and the exclusively online application process excluded multitudes of potential beneficiaries from applying; 
  • Little were seen of the promised volunteers with special equipment that were supposed to assist applicants; and 
  • A backlog of thousands of emails and phone calls received daily meant that citizens were effectively stonewalled by SASSA at almost every point.

“While SASSA seems to have the situation in hand on paper, the truth is that millions of people have suffered and starved during the extended COVID-19 lockdown period due to the agency’s ineptitude,” she said. 

‘HIS WORDS ARE FAR REMOVED’ – MASANGO

Masango said Ramaphosa likes to make speeches about how many people have benefited from government’s various stimulus packages and projects, including the R350 grant, however, his words are far removed from the lived reality of millions of South Africans every day. 

Masango said it fails to understand the desperation of the dozens of people who contact the DA every day “without a scrap or a crumb to eat in their homes”. The DA said by the time they make contact, they had been without food for days, sometimes weeks. 

“What the Department of Social Development (DSD) and SASSA seem to consistently ignore is that their impotence directly affects the lives of those most vulnerable in South Africa. They affect the lives of children, the elderly, those with disabilities and their loved ones,”

“They affect the lives of the desperate and needy who for whatever reason are not able to fend for themselves at the moment. And in this crisis SASSA showed its rotten core,” she added. 

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