Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Bridget Masango MP.
Despite promises from Postbank, the DA has received reports that South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) beneficiaries are still struggling to access their social grants.
And while the article in yesterday’s Sunday Times and others the past 12 days highlight the depth of the crisis at the Postbank, it is of little comfort to the millions of South Africans reliant on it to pay their grants every month. That looters made off with R150 million – R18 million in just 5 days – is an indictment on the bank. These thieves not only stole money, they were playing loose and fast with millions of people’s lives.
Through the establishment of a new Chapter 9 institution, the DA’s “Cyber Commissioner” Bill will go a long way to strengthen and support cybersecurity in the country’s State-owned enterprises (SOEs). The institution will advise on, monitor and establish cyber security capability in the public sector, as well as establish minimum standards and build cyber security capacity.
This year was a particularly difficult year for South Africa’s 18 million SASSA grant beneficiaries. Not only has the country’s cost of living increased astronomically and unemployment lines grown, access to social grants have become a nightmare. There was scarcely a single month without some or other glitch that made grant payment difficult.
When the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract finally came to an end, the DA was one of the voices questioning why the outsourcing of social grant payments.
After SASSA successfully migrated beneficiaries from CPS to the Post Office and other banks, we were carefully optimistic that beneficiaries’ troubles in accessing their grants would be at an end. But this has never been the case. Almost every month another problem prohibited the easy payments of social grants. And every time beneficiaries were forced to borrow money to return home empty handed after often spending days sleeping in queues.
After 17 years, SASSA should have been an expert in assisting and paying grant beneficiaries. Instead, almost two decades of dealing with the country’s poorest and most vulnerable has created no urgency with them to address the myriad of recurring problems, nor has the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu’s R2.4 million annual salary bought her an ounce of compassion.