Social grant recipients fret over Sassa debacle

2017-03-10 21:20
DA marchers on their way to social development offices to hand over their memorandum that calls,  among other things, minister Bathabile Dlamini to resign. (Sisa Canca, News24).

DA marchers on their way to social development offices to hand over their memorandum that calls, among other things, minister Bathabile Dlamini to resign. (Sisa Canca, News24).

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Pretoria - A woman helped Patrick Masuteng push his wheelchair from Pretoria’s Princess Park all the way to the Department of Social Development offices on Friday morning.

Carrying a blue placard with the words “Stop corruption, pay our grants” written in bold, the father of three said he was compelled to fight for his R1500 monthly disability grant.

“If we don’t get the money, my children will not be able to go to school and we also won’t have food,” said Masuteng.

He took the day off to be among hundreds of DA supporters who marched against Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, and her poor handling of the social grants payment issue.

“With the money I’m able to pay rent and take my children to school,” he said.

Social grant recipient Wendy Selwana brought her toddler along to the march. She said although they did not get much, she was able to provide her daughter with what she needed.

“The money doesn’t do much, but at least it’s something,” she said.

Unemployed Joyce Mthethwa said she depended on her child’s social grant to get by. She joined the march because it was for all South Africans who wanted to stand up against poverty and speak for the voiceless.

“I’m one of many South Africans who are affected by poverty one way or the other. People are not working. We have old grannies that are raising their grandchildren on their own. What are they going to eat? The government is failing to create jobs and now they want to take away the little that we have left,” she said.

A 72-year-old grandmother, who asked not to be named, said the march was a fight for survival for her.

She said she didn’t know what she would do if her pension was not paid on April 1. As the sole provider, the family would starve to death.

“I’m depending on this money. It’s my only source of income. How would I pay my society subscription [stokvel]?” she asked.

The future of more than 17 million people hangs in the balance as the Department of Social Development continues to try and find a solution to the grants payment saga by the March 31 deadline.

The Constitutional Court on Wednesday asked for the department and SA Social Security Agency to urgently provide it with clarity.

The court wanted information including when exactly it dawned on Sassa that it was not going to have its own grants payment system in place by the time the invalid contract with Cash Paymaster Services expires on March 31.

The answers are required by 16:00 on Monday.

The department said it welcomed the court's request for more information.

Read more on:    da  |  pretoria  |  social grants

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