The Democratic Alliance has called on the National Command Council (NCC) to reopen community halls, to allow pensioners and other grant beneficiaries to exercise their constitutional rights to basic services.
DA Parliamentary Portfolio Committee member on Social Development, Alexandra Abrahams said as South Africa is likely to see a lot more SASSA offices often closing as a result of positive COVID-19 cases the NCC must direct queues to community halls.
Abrahams said DA has written to Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, calling for the reopening of community halls throughout the country.
Please Minister Zulu, pleaded Abrahams, for the benefit of millions of vulnerable South Africans, can you urgently consider raising this problem with NCC to allow SASSA utilise community halls again to supply key services.
“There’s a threat of being locked under the current Level 3 alarm, please raise the issue at the next NCC meeting,” added Abrahams.
The NCC is chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Cooperative Management and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and is composed of 20 ministers.
The NCC review and decide what steps the country should take to manage COVID-19 pandemic during the lockdown period.
“Community halls are geographically situated in the heart of communities whereas SASSA offices are located in central business districts.
“Before the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, community halls played a vital logistical role in bringing SASSA services closer for over 18 million vulnerable pensioners, parents, persons with disabilities and many other grant recipients,” said Abrahams.
He said the reopening of community halls may also help lessen congestion outside SASSA offices and malls in order to avoid non-compliance of lockdown regulations including social distancing.
“This could enable better social distancing, shorter quicker queues for beneficiaries in the facial skin of the harsh winter elements, and utilisation of ablution facilities, “said Abrahams.
“As reported SASSA offices only allows between 30 and 70 appointments daily per office, community halls which also used as pay points throughout the country should stay available to service SASSA beneficiaries during lockdowns,” added Abrahams.