Tents utilised for payment

2017-06-14 06:03
An armed security officer patrols a tent erected outside the Batho Community Hall in Bloemfontein. The tent was used by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to pay social grants, as various halls in townships of the Mangaung Metro (Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu) were not accessible.­Photo: Teboho Setena

An armed security officer patrols a tent erected outside the Batho Community Hall in Bloemfontein. The tent was used by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to pay social grants, as various halls in townships of the Mangaung Metro (Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu) were not accessible.­Photo: Teboho Setena

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The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) took a calculated risk to pay social grants to beneficiaries in the Mangaung Metro Municipality.

Tents, instead of community halls, were used as payment stations in townships within the greater Mangaung Metro. This was a calculated risk, given the high crime rate in the areas.

The agency did this in Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu from the beginning of June.

The tents had to be used after community halls had reportedly been found locked.

It is not clear whether this was due to the strike by employees affiliated with the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), the largest local government trade union.

Employees affiliated with the union have been on strike since 15 May, the month during which the plight of workers is highlighted.

The strike by the union is due to a number of issues, such as demands for the employment of all temporary workers, a R3 000 increase for all workers and R40 000 in back payment to all the employees.

The payment of grants continued in the presence of armed private security officers, who were placed at strategic points both inside and outside the tents.

On high alert, some security officers were spotted patrolling around areas demarcated for tents in Batho, Bochabela and Rocklands in Bloemfontein, including the Jakaranda Community Hall in Botshabelo.

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