A pensioner leaves a paypoint after receiving her Sassa grant. Picture: SOWETAN
A pensioner leaves a paypoint after receiving her Sassa grant. Picture: SOWETAN

Workers at the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) will down tools at offices across the country on Wednesday.

“The national strike will run indefinitely until all our demands are met,” National Education‚ Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) general secretary Zola Saphetha said.

Union leaders are to meet social development minister Susan Shabangu later on Wednesday.

“[She] has requested an urgent meeting with Nehawu to try and resolve the impasse. As Nehawu‚ we will give the minister audience and hope that this impending engagement will unearth a suitable solution to the crises facing beneficiaries and our members‚” Saphetha said.

Among the union’s demands is that the biometric enrolment of beneficiaries be suspended; consultation on the biometric enrolment be prioritised; and a job evaluation be undertaken in grants administration.

“Biometric enrolment is not part of the job description of workers … nor is it part of the Sassa grant administration business process. In rural areas‚ there is a huge shortage of the enrolment equipment‚ leading to delays in the servicing of beneficiaries. The system does not cater for workers living with disabilities‚” Saphetha told a press conference earlier this week.

“It also allows more than one person to log in using the same user identity and user credentials‚ leading to fraudulent activities.”

Saphetha has said the strike follows several failed attempts to engage with Sassa‚ and “picket lines are the necessary way to go”.

“The strike remains a last resort after exhausting all available avenues‚ including seeking an intervention from social development minister Susan Shabangu…. The intransigence and arrogance of Sassa management resulted in one option‚ the total shutdown of all Sassa workplaces‚” he said.