The DA will call for a debate of national importance regarding the failed and late payments of South African Social Security Agency's (SASSA) social grants.
The recent Postbank payment failure is the latest in a long line of failures to ensure grant recipients get their funds at the allotted times, and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu's attempt to solely lay the blame at the Bank's feet is disingenuous and ignores the countless months the elderly or young mothers or disabled people had to queue in the wind and rain just to return home empty handed.
Beneficiaries apply to SASSA, not Postbank or other service providers, to receive grants. It is time Minister Zulu showed leadership and took responsibility for her part in hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries suffering hunger, wasting their precious funds on multiple unsuccessful trips to payment points, and being made vulnerable to unscrupulous loan sharks preying on their situation.
On Tuesday, 19 September 2023, the DA will also lodge a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) Johannesburg office and request an investigation into SASSA's continuous failures to pay social grant beneficiaries on time. The issue of late or non-payment of grants is a clear violation of citizens' rights to life, equality, dignity, food and social security. The Minister has failed time and time again and it is time she accounts for her lack of action.
It is time the Minister implemented unchanging set payment dates for each social grant. Beneficiaries' lives are in turmoil because they cannot rely on regularly scheduled access to their funds.
It is the Minister's responsibility to ensure that the appointed service providers are able to provide services. But it seems that unless you form part of the Minister's inner circle, like acting Department of Social Development (DSD) director-general Linton Mchunu, she remains content with empty platitudes.
The Minister has never cared about the poor she's mandated to serve, as this latest payment chaos clearly illustrates. The DA advises grant beneficiaries to open bank accounts with reputable banks to better ensure access to their funds when they need them. If the Minister is not willing to aid those most in need and are literally begging to be helped, then it is high time that President Cyril Ramaphosa fire her from Cabinet and replace her with someone who actually intends to uphold their Constitutional obligations.
Note to Editors: More details will follow tomorrow, Monday, 18 September, in the form of a media advisory, on the lodging of the complaint to the SAHRC.