The Vygieskraal informal settlement fire occurred on the 21st of October 2019 – almost three years ago – and residents are yet to receive their approved SASSA Social Relief of Distress (SRD) payment.
Despite having approved SASSA SRD forms dated 6 November 2019, more than half of the residents are yet to receive payment.
I was contacted by the residents and immediately followed up with SASSA on the 9th of June 2021. Since then, it has been a constant back and forth with SASSA. Excuses, delays and broken commitments at every front.
SASSA’s excuses range from; resident contact details having changed, lack of cell phone numbers to send the SASSA SMS, details needed to be manually captured onto the SOCPEN system, SRD value in 2019 differs to that of 2021, to staff shortages as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the 24th of August 2021, with the assistance of the residents, I submitted an updated list of contact details to SASSA.
Since these interventions, 57 residents received payment via the South African Postal Services, while 62 residents are still awaiting payment via bank accounts.
On the 30th of September 2021 SASSA committed to pay the remaining 62 residents by the end of the second week of October 2021.
“SASSA can now confirm that all the 62 beneficiaries’ outstanding banking details have been received. These have been uploaded in to the system for payment from the second week of October, immediately after the scheduled grants payment cycle.”
Today, the 15th of October 2021, I have been informed by residents there is still no monies in their bank accounts.
Alarmingly, it is not only the Vygieskraal residents who have been denied SRD payments and forgotten by SASSA.
This is secondary victimization by the very institution with its mandate to ensure the provision of social security against vulnerability and poverty. I will submit written questions to Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Minister for Social Development, in this regard as soon as Parliament resumes on 3 November 2021.
The DA will continue to be the voice for the vulnerable South Africans suffering at the hands of SASSA, yet another failed national government competency.
No more delays. No more excuses. SASSA must honour their 2019 commitment and immediately pay the remaining 62 fire victims.
Help us to bring change to more towns and municipalities by making a donation towards our 2021 Local Government Election campaign, click here.