Minister Zulu must ensure uninterrupted payment of temporary disability grants

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu to urgently amend regulations regarding temporary disability grants. The regulations make provisions for temporary disability grants that have lapsed between February and June 2020 to be paid out until October. Grants that have lapsed from July onwards have however not been covered in her regulations and are therefore currently not being paid out by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

To many people with disabilities these grants are vital to their very survival. It’s their means to procure food for themselves and their families. It’s how they ensure the roof over their heads. And this oversight by the Minister’s regulations puts their lives and well-being at risk.

While it is normal for temporary disability grants to be reviewed under ordinary circumstances, the exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown necessitates the continuous payment of these grants until all services are again run as close to normal as possible. In her regulations, the Minister clearly thinks that it will not be before October.

The current situation is especially worrying as it recently came to light that there are only 10 SASSA-contracted assessment doctors in the entire Western Cape.

The people affected are some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community and they cannot go without grant payments for four months. The Minister must act with urgency and amend the regulations to ensure the continued payment of temporary disability grants that have lapsed in July, August, September, and October.

This is one way Minister Zulu can prove that she does indeed take her mandate seriously and will not leave those under her care to suffer needlessly.

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