Post Office closures will severely impact distribution of social grants

Please find attached soundbite by Bridget Masango MP.

While the DA welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Sunday that the special Covid-19 social relief of distress (SRD) grant of R350 has been reinstated until March 2022 and extended to include unemployed caregivers already receiving child support grants, the closure of 130 post offices across South Africa will have an immense impact on the distribution of these grants.

We once again call on the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to provide plans on how it will ensure the uninterrupted payment of grants due to possible adverse effects of the closure of post offices as well as the damage to infrastructure during the riots.

While the timing of the extension of the R350 grant has raised eye brows – just before an election while the DA and civil society has been calling in vain for such action – we are pleased that there will be relief for the poor and vulnerable.

The DA will make sure to keep a close eye on the disbursement of the R350 and other social grants by SASSA as situations where poor South Africans are stripped of their dignity in hours-long queues and vilified with water-cannons cannot be allowed again.

The economic implosion caused by years of governmental mismanagement and policies that choked economic growth exacerbated by the continuing Covid-19 lockdown, has left millions of South Africans without jobs and without a hope of finding employment in the near future. The recently released Household Affordability Index also indicated that South Africans dependent on grants are often unable to afford an average household food basket that provides nutritious meals for their families.

Many South Africans will, therefore, have no hope for survival without a social grants, but had the ANC government spent the last 27 years creating policies to foster and grow the economy instead of looting the coffers, millions of vulnerable people would not have had to face the indignity of long social grant queues.