Khayelitsha Development Forum questions Sassa lease agreement
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Cape Town - The Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) accused the provincial Social Security Agency (Sassa) of using procurement policies as a cover to undermine townships and to not service them.
This after the agency allegedly ditched negotiations for a 1 000 square metre office at new Ilitha Mall for a much smaller disused car fitments centre.
With 94 571 beneficiaries receiving different social grants in Khayelitsha per month, 132 512 active grants, 104 316 children accessing children’s grants and more than R103 million paid out per month to all beneficiaries, KDF chairperson Ndithini Tyhido asked how Sassa was able to process such huge amounts without a proper office.
Tyhido said that where Sassa was currently operating, using a shared office space with the provincial Department of Social Development, there were constantly crowds which resulted in an ineffective rendering of services.
“For the past two years we have put them into contact with the developer, and for some time they were negotiating. Our issue is why they would abandon negotiations and opt for an unused fitness centre when they had an opportunity to obtain decent offices?
“Any reasonable manager or professional dealing with those amounts of money would want to be in a decent environment so that they could better service the community,” he said.
Sassa spokesperson Shivani Wahab said that prior to March 2019 Sassa’s local office had four semi- permanent service points rendering services to the community, but these were closed based on the security risks in the area.
“Sassa entered into a lease agreement of three years for the fitments centre facility. A risk assessment was further concluded on the site to establish security measures that needed to be implemented to mitigate against any risks.
“An agreement was reached with the fitments centre facility, and approval was obtained from the delegated authority to enter into an agreement with the service provider,” she said.
Wahab said that in respect of the premises at Ilitha Mall, Sassa may not enter directly into any lease agreement with private landlords.
She said a meeting was held with the landlord of the mall where they expressed concern at the rental rate, and requested the landlord to consider a market-related rate.