Locals take up chance to catch up

2017-12-05 06:00
Mercia King (right) performs a finger-prick test on Martha Abrahams (left) while her colleagues look on.PHOTOS: Nomzamo Yuku

Mercia King (right) performs a finger-prick test on Martha Abrahams (left) while her colleagues look on.PHOTOS: Nomzamo Yuku

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Sassa, in partnership with government stakeholders, brought its services closer to the residents of ward 56 on Tuesday.

More than a hundred residents visited Kensington Civic Centre from 09:00 to 16:00 to have their documentation fixed, apply for grants and receive medical help.

Residents came from Maitland, Kensington, Factreton and surrounding areas.

Shivani Wahab, spokesperson of Sassa, says Sassa officials saw the need to provide services to the community of Factreton.

She says the aim was to reduce the high influx of grant beneficiaries to service points and to bring Sassa services to those “who may be unemployed or have no means to commute to apply for social grants”.

“On the day a number of social grant applications were completed, processing of child grant applications finalised, as well as important beneficiary education programmes conducted. Sassa is committed to ensuring that our customers are always treated with dignity and respect. There is always a need to market our services to the communities we serve,” says Wahab.

Various officials, including from the departments of health and home affairs, police and the council, attended the event to offer their services.

Residents said they decided to take advantage of this one-off opportunity to get their papers fixed and ask questions.

One resident, Esaeline Jafta, said she had been planning to go and apply for a social grant for her newborn baby but she struggled to raise the taxi fare and kept postponing the trip.

She said on Tuesday she woke up early because she knew it was her only chance to do everything at no cost. “I am glad they brought services to us. It was difficult for me to go to their office so today was a bargain for me. We never get these chances here. We are thankful to the officials.”

Another resident, Martha Abrahams, a pensioner, had different tests done, including for HIV and high blood pressure.

She said the services were quick and staff friendly. She said she was reluctant to go to the clinic because of the long queues.

Staff of Kensington Day Hospital had a stall in the hall where they offered different services.

Manager Geraldine Mentoor said it was amazing to see people so happy to receive services. She said residents came in their numbers and were not ashamed to enquire and do tests. She said initiatives like these could help many people as they felt more comfortable to be near their homes. “It is clear that government departments should continue with these partnerships as people like the idea. As the health department, we do go out to communities to raise awareness and render our services, but today is super special; everyone is cooperating.”

She, however, encouraged people to not wait for services to come to them, especially where their health was concerned.

“We get more people [here] testing and enquiring about their medication, [but] it is more appropriate and easy when these are done at our premises where we can provide all the answers. We do not bring files with us which makes us unable to actually help with medication-related issues now. We try but this is not the right place.”

Ward councillor Helen Jacobs says she is happy to see residents get the services they need under one roof.

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