At the beginning of lockdown in March 2020 quite a lot of neighborhood halls in Cape City had been closed to sluggish the unfold of Covid-19. This meant that lots of of social grant beneficiaries who relied on getting their funds and different companies at native centres now needed to spend the little they needed to journey to the closest South African Social Safety Company (Sassa) workplaces that had been already overwhelmed with recipients.
Geraldine Philander, a short lived incapacity grant (TDG) recipient, mentioned that she lastly began receiving her grant in July this 12 months. She had been struggling to get it since January when the TDGs lapsed and prompted a large backlog which resulted in lengthy queues outdoors the company’s Bellville workplace.
Philander needed to take two taxis to get from her residence in Belhar to the Bellville workplace and often pays about R13 per one-way journey. This after the service level in her space closed. “It’s a good distance. At my age I can’t stroll an excessive amount of,” she mentioned.
Provincial Sassa spokesperson Shivani Wahab mentioned that they had no alternative however to droop companies at a few of their busiest websites throughout lockdown. This has resulted in lengthy queues outdoors the Sassa workplace in Bellville and Eerste River, with beneficiaries usually sleeping outdoors on the pavement within the hope of securing a possibility to be assisted.
In response to Wahab, all companies in Kraaifontein, Wallacedene, Bloekombos and Northpine are suspended.
We requested for an reason neighborhood halls had been closed as Sassa service factors due to Covid however acquired no response.
Simpiwe Nonkeyizana, the ward councillor in Wallacedene, Kraaifontein, estimated that nicely over 12,000 persons are doubtless grant recipients. In all the Wallacedene, which is break up into three wards, he mentioned that over 20,000 persons are doubtless grant recipients.
He mentioned that many individuals from Kraaifontein need to journey far to Sassa service factors. “At the least when individuals had been travelling by trains, the price of travelling was cheaper. However now, it’s fairly costly,” he mentioned. For people who find themselves sick or aged, travelling to obtain their grants may be very tough, he mentioned.
ALSO READ: SRD R350 grant: Some Sassa funds halted after 1000’s ‘benefitted improperly’
With the intention to meet the necessity for service factors, Wahab mentioned Sassa was utilizing the Northpine Group Corridor in Brackenfell for 2 months. It was suspended after Northpine residents “raised considerations that Sassa’s purchasers had been polluting the realm with waste whereas accessing the venue for companies”. The location was closed in December final 12 months.
In response to the closure, the Metropolis of Cape City mentioned it organized for the Northdene Corridor in Kraaifontein for use however Sassa, having used this venue earlier than, deemed the venue too unsafe for employees.
“The protection of our employees stays a precedence and on no account would Sassa deploy employees to a venue that poses a danger to their security,” mentioned Wahab.
Gillion Bosman, chair of the Western Cape legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Improvement questioned Sassa’s choice to not use the Northdene Corridor, particularly for the reason that Kraaifontein Sassa workplace has been closed for over a 12 months.
In a current assertion Bosman mentioned he requested Sassa to interact with the Metropolis about securing further venues for companies. “The Metropolis availed an applicable venue, Northdene Corridor, which is well-located, higher geared up to deal with Covid-19 protocols and social distancing,” mentioned Bosman. He mentioned that Sassa’s refusal was “irrational” and that safety measures had been provided.
Abigail Peters, paralegal on the Black Sash mentioned, “Typically satellite tv for pc workplaces that had been helping to mitigate the problems of lengthy queues, are now not accessible.”
The Delft Civic Centre service level opened in February this 12 months, but in addition closed once more in early April, mentioned Peters. This has additionally exacerbated the congestion on the Bellville workplace.
This text first appeared on GroundUp and was republished with permission. Learn the unique article right here.