‘Officials chat while we queue for hours’

2019-07-03 06:02
photo: andile sithole The aged and frail complain about waiting for long hours at Greytown Sassa offices.

photo: andile sithole The aged and frail complain about waiting for long hours at Greytown Sassa offices.

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RESIDENTS visiting the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) office in Greytown are calling on provincial government to conduct an oversight visit to the premises. The residents say they spend many hours sitting in long queues while they claim that officers working at the branch are on a “go-slow”.

When the Gazette visited the premises on Wednesday, June 26, frail and elderly residents could be seen moving slowly along the chair line while others came in to join the other lines.

Residents who wished to remain anonymous also complained about Sassa officers who spend more time talking to each other than serving their patrons.

“I joined the line at about 9 am just to apply for my grant. I think the staff spend more time talking than doing their job. We can hear them laughing while we are waiting in the queues.

“Sometimes we spend the whole day sitting here until we go back home at 4 pm. When I come the following day, I find another line of people waiting inside,” she said.

Another resident said: “I came to apply for an aid grant. It took me almost the whole day to submit all my documents. I joined the line at 8.30 am and had to sit for more than three hours waiting for assistance.

“The officers from this office are slow. Sometimes you come here and find less than 20 people but you have to spend almost half a day waiting because officers spend more time talking in the offices [than helping people].”

An eShane resident said it took him two days to finalise his application for grant aid, adding: “The officers working at this office need to catch a wake up. Provincial government must send a team to investigate. Some people leave without being helped — it is unacceptable.”

Sassa acting senior manager Mbizeni Mdlalose said: “Please note that our officials are not on a go slow.

“In the past month we had large crowds due to some to social grant reviews that were taking place.

“It is also worth mentioning that every Wednesday and Thursday we do medical assessments for disability grants at the Greytown office, which is also a contributing factor to long queues. We also try, once the assessment is done, to finalise the applications process on the same day in order to minimise travelling costs for applicants, this also contributes to time spent to the office. Our beneficiaries are kept informed about this all the time.

“People come as early as 6.30 am to our office in order to be in front of the queue. Our offices open at 7 am for the waiting area and start working at 7.30 am. The only time there will be a long queue outside the office is when beneficiaries are waiting for the waiting area to be opened and, during the day, there is no queue outside the office.”

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