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05 May 2020

Hospersa, a Union with more than 60 000 members in the public and private health sector, is shocked by the government’s handling of the social grant payments during the lockdown period.  Yesterday, system glitches at the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) pay points across the country left many elderly beneficiaries standing in long queues and some not even receiving their payments while other beneficiaries have reportedly received duplicate payments.  Hospersa is concerned by these reports especially knowing that the same agency [SASSA] is tasked with issuing the R350 monthly relief to many unemployed South African and that corruption and maladministration could show its ugly head if further glitches are experienced.

According to reports, there was chaos around the country with the issuing of SASSA grant payments to beneficiaries yesterday.  It is reported that there were technical glitches at SASSA pay points which resulted in many beneficiaries standing in long queues to collect their social grant money.  While others left empty handed and having to return today to access their payment, others received duplicate payments due to the technical error.  It is reported that more than 400 000 beneficiaries in the Western Cape (WC) Province received duplicate payments.  The department which SASSA reports to, Department of Social Development (DSD), has stated that those beneficiaries that received duplicate payments will have to pay back that money.  Hospersa has raised concerns about this technical glitch citing that it reveals loopholes in the SASSA system which corrupt officials could exploit especially as the DSD gears up to start paying a monthly R350 grant benefit to unemployed citizens during the lockdown.

“We are appalled by government’s handling of the social grant payments,” said Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines.  “Many elderly citizens wait for long hours in long queues to access the grant benefit.  Due to the technical glitches experienced yesterday, others left empty handed and would have to endure making trip again, even at a time while government advocates for people to stay at home,” said Desfontaines.

“We have also noted that there are no nearby ablution facilities to wash hands regularly and social distancing is not practiced at some of the designated pay points,” said Desfontaines.  “This goes back to the contradicting messages from government whereby the general public is told to adhere to regulations while government itself is not consistently adhering to its own regulations.  One would also see the inconsistent messaging from ministers during briefings especially during the communication of level four (4) lockdown regulations.  Many industries are still in the dark on basic issues like staff permits, the type of PPE to be worn and the regular screening for staff members,” argued Desfontaines.

“Yesterday’s technical glitches also revealed a shocking gateway which corrupt officials could exploit in an attempt to loot from government’s R500 billion stimulus package,” said Desfontaines.  “SASSA is gearing up to provide a R350 monthly relief to unemployed beneficiaries.  We can only hope that this monthly relief will reach the intended citizens and not fall to the clutches of corrupt officials waiting to pounce on further payment technical glitches,” concluded Desfontaines.



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 For more information please contact Hospersa Public Relations Officer on 060-546-8166.

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