After an oversight inspection at the South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) Roodepoort office on Friday, 5 October, the branch was labelled “one of the worst”.
After receiving countless complaints from Roodepoort residents regarding the services at the Roodepoort office, DA shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango said she just had to investigate the issues. “So many people complained about the poor service here, so it was a must for us to visit the office,” Masango said.
She was not alone during her inspection as Ward 84 councillor Gert Niemand and DA Team One SA spokesperson on Basic Services, Makashule Gana were on hand during the visit. Upon their arrival, they were met with hostility as the assistant manager of the Sassa office refused to answer any question that Masango, Niemand and Gana had for them.
In view of the lack of cooperation by the office staff, they set out to speak to the people themselves regarding the issues they were facing at the office. “There is a woman with a three-year-old child here who received her child grant for the first six months after her child’s birth, but has received nothing for more than two years since,” said Gana.
After a short while, they were eventually granted a tour of the offices, which left Gana and Masango shocked. There was no visible managerial organisation around the office as they were short-staffed. Grant applicants were allowed to roam the office as they wished.
Hopeful applicants who visit the Roodepoort office will likely be told to return only in December as the backlog has worsened to the point where they can only process new applications in two months’ time. The disability grant section of the office was empty however, as disability grant applicants are turned away at the door because, for the last six months, the office has not had a doctor to certify disabilities.
Speaking after the tour of the offices, Gana described the Sassa Roodepoort office as “one of the worst Sassa offices in terms of service to the people that I have been to”.
“This shows a lack of leadership from these people [Sassa]. There’s just total disdain for the poor and vulnerable,” said Masango. “What I saw today is just not honourable.”
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