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Picture: SA GOVERNMENT VIA TWITTER
Picture: SA GOVERNMENT VIA TWITTER

Human rights organisation the Black Sash has criticised the SA Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) latest changes, saying beneficiaries of the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant face several barriers both in the application and collection stages.

Sassa recently announced that beneficiaries will no longer receive their payments at SA Post Office (Sapo) branches. 

Speaking on eNCA, Black Sash executive director Rachel Bukasa said there was limited information on how people could apply for and collect their grant payments.

Bukasa said millions of people were losing out on the grant because of not qualifying. 

“The way the system is structured is that the people who really need it are getting excluded.

“One of the examples we consistently have is that government systems, such as Sars {SA Revenue Service], are not up to date and reflect a certain amount of money ... now people need to be poorer than poor to qualify.

“The new regulations have gone backwards and are putting millions of lives in jeopardy for the people who can now no longer access this.”

Previously, the organisation slammed Sassa’s and Sapo’s failure to directly pay grant beneficiaries.

“Sassa is taking two steps back by not putting contingency measures in place where beneficiaries do not bear the brunt of the administrative challenges. The department of social development and Sassa must consider alternative measures for beneficiaries to access their grants at no cost. 

“While using retailers is at no cost to the beneficiary, there must be caution that private businesses are performing a government service to ensure there will not be a repeat of the Cash Paymaster Services debacle that led to the Sassa crisis, where Black Sash had to make an urgent application to the Constitutional Court,” said the Black Sash.

The organisation said a strong communication and media strategy was crucial on the part of the department and Sassa to ensure that beneficiaries are aware of changes that affect them. It implored Sassa to strengthen its strategy to ensure that the changes implemented are not at the expense of beneficiaries.

TimesLIVE

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