Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it has only completed around 900 assessments for the renewal or issuing of temporary disability grants in the Western Cape, out of more than 52 000 applications.
Sassa says around 12 000 applicants have also been scheduled for appointments at their offices.
Officials briefed the Western Cape Parliament’s Standing Committee on Social Development on Thursday on the current situation in the province.
Sassa is aiming to complete the Temporary Disability Grants application process in the Western Cape by the end of March.
Addressing the Standing Committee meeting on social development in the Provincial Parliament, Head of Sassa in the province, Bandile Maqetuka says they are working on plans to speed up the process.
“The number of new additional doctors is 40 out of the 582 doctors that we have contacted and some are still in the process of being contracted. More doctors will be within the jurisdiction of the City of Cape Town because 64 % of the 52 323 are based within the City of Cape Town areas, therefore we’ll be making sure we have more doctors within the Cape Metropole area.”
Last week police used water cannons on frail and elderly people, to enforce social distancing when hundreds of people converged at Sassa’s Bellville office.
Many of the people queuing were standing in line to renew their lapsed temporary disability grants.
Maqetuka says they will be setting up additional temporary venues across the Western Cape, to alleviate overcrowding at their offices in the province.
“This week eleven facilities were made available to us and we really appreciate that, but we’ll continue engaging with our leadership to ensure that more facilities are earmarked and are made available. We are also targeting privately owned facilities like churches.”
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town has refuted reports by authorities that claim that it was unwilling to allow Sassa to use some of the City’s community halls to process the payments of grants.
“We’ve always been available to Sassa by providing detailed schedules of facilities that are available, especially from the time as they become unavailable due to our needs and these facilities which they use as service points and providing services. We also provided alternative venues where those facilities have come offline because of the needs that we’ve identified,” says Mayco Member for Health and Community Services, Zahid Badroodien.
The South African Human Rights Commission says it investigating the use of a water cannon by police to disperse the grant applicants outside Sassa’s Bellville office.