Now Sassa workers go on strike

2017-03-13 17:14
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (Lulama Zenzile, Netwerk24)

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (Lulama Zenzile, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - Nehawu members in the social development department and at Sassa have embarked on a nationwide strike.

On Monday, Netwerk24 reported that a total of 6 000 members were taking part, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union said.

Trade union federation Cosatu expressed its support for the countrywide strike.

Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba said the union's members were responsible for processing the payments of social grants between Treasury, the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

Xaba said negotiations over service conditions, which date back to 2015, had reached a deadlock on Sunday evening. A meeting on Friday with Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini proved fruitless.

"It is in the minister's interest to heed to our demands if she wants grants to be paid."

Constitutional Court

The strike started on the same day that Dlamini and Sassa were meant to deliver answers to the Constitutional Court about who will take over payment of social grants to 17 million South Africans from April 1.

This week, Dlamini and Sassa have to defend a Constitutional Court application from the Black Sash about the social grants contract.

In a statement on Monday, the Economic Freedom Fighters cautioned that the social grants were being "illegally monopolised", through Dlamini, into the hands of the "foreign and white CPS".

"A minister is prepared to undermine the highest court in the country to keep an illegal and corrupt contract in place," the EFF said.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance asked the Public Protector to investigate the relationship between Dlamini and CPS.

Xaba said it was "pure coincidence" that the strike had been called during such a critical time.

"We are here to fight for our members. It did not start overnight and it is a pity that it has to end this way."

In February, Nehawu members marched to the department’s offices to hand over a memorandum. Xaba said that, since then, the department had not made any counter-proposals.

Nehawu's demands include a grant for Sassa workers in rural areas, and equipment and aids for them to do their work.

Read more on:    nehawu  |  sassa  |  politics  |  social grants

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