DA requests NCC reopen community halls for social grants payments

Minister, Lindiwe Zulu: GCIS.

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.

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