DA monitors SASSA’s re-opening of offices

SASSA CEO, Busisiwe Memela. Image GCIS

Democratic Alliance (DA) says it has for now shelved its court papers aimed at compelling the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to reopen its offices closed during COVID-19 level 5 lockdown.

DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango argued the opening of offices during level 4 lockdown will alleviate the plight of applicants who don’t have access to technological resources, including the jobless applying for R350 social relieve grant.

Lawyers representing the DA, Minde Schapiro & Smith have on Monday threatened to launch court papers should the government continue to ignore their client’s continuous request to reopen the offices.

In a letter addressed to Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, and SASSA Chief Executive Officer, Busisiwe Memela, and the presidency, Minde Schapiro & Smith gave the respondents until the close of business on Monday – May 4, 2020, to provide reasons.

Masango said the move to put on hold intention to take legal action against SASSA follows a “quick” response from the agency that it is finalising to reopen the offices.

Masango confirmed her office received a letter from Memela, on Monday evening regarding DA’s request to re-opened offices countrywide to help with the influx of applications for social grants

“Memela confirmed that the agency is preparing offices and implementing safety measures until May 8, 2020, including sanitation and provision of Personal Protective Equipment to employees.

She stated that 30% of SASSA employees will return to work and occupy each of its offices. They will process electronic and telephonic applications,” said Masango.

Masango said the re-opening of SASSA offices to the public, under strict COVID-19 protocols, would have assisted vulnerable South Africans in accessing much-needed social relief–especially those who do not have access to technological resources.

However, said Masango, the DA will monitor and assess the implementation and success of SASSA’s proposed measures and the limited re-opening of their offices, adding that should SASSA fail, we [DA] won’t stop for a second to go to court.

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