Kraaifontein residents forced to travel 23km for Sassa grants
Share this article:
Cape Town - Kraaifontein residents have been left in the lurch for more than a year as the only South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) service point remains closed with no alternative facility in the area to date.
This has forced social grant applicants to spend more than R60 per day on a taxi to Eersterivier, 23.3km away.
Founder of NPO Community Advisory Services(CAS), Linda Phito, said people were taking extreme measures of leaving their homes the day before and sleeping outside the Sassa Eersterivier office to avert long queues.
CAS is a community-based upliftment organisation that deals with social issues including service deliveries.
“Our community has numerous social challenges and many households within this community are dependent on social grants.
“Wallacedene has a community hall which Sassa used to operate in as a service point, but it closed.
“This happened prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and we never really got to know why the service closed and has not returned.
“Residents didn’t follow up on this because they could go to the neighbouring community of Bloekombos where Sassa was operating in an NPO Hall.
“But even there the Social Security Agency operated for one day per week.”
Phito said the hall closed when the national lockdown was announced, but Sassa did not resume services when the country reopened again.
“The last time Kraaifontein residents were served in their area was in March 2020.
“When we wrote an email to Sassa, they claimed that they had to vacate Bloekombos because the law does not allow them to operate in one place for more than three years.
“What we don’t understand then is if they knew they had to leave, why not secure an alternative facility in advance.
“We really don’t understand this carelessness,” he said.
According to Phito, when Kraaifontein social grant applicants travel from the area to the Bellville Sassa office they are referred to Eersterivier, which is far.
“There is no taxi that moves from the area straight to Eersterivier.
“People have to go to Bellville and get another taxi, the return is about R66. Residents have been coming to us for help and we don’t have answers,” said Phito.
Ward councillor Siyabonga Duka said: “No formal complaint has come to me from residents. The last time I checked Sassa was operating at the NPO hall. I’m really shocked and will write to the Social Security Agency to get a clear picture of what is happening.
“It can’t be that such an essential service is removed from the community with no alternative for months.”
Sassa Western Cape spokesperson Shivani Wahab confirmed that services in Kraaifontein, Wallacedene and Bloekombos were suspended but did not state the reasons or when they would resume.
Wahab also mentioned that their services at Northpine were also currently suspended after only operating there in May and June.
“An application was made, via the City, for the utilisation of Northpine Community Hall which is centrally located for communities in this vicinity as opposed to clients travelling out to the Sassa Eerste River Office for services.”
According to Wahab, operations were halted after residents allegedly complained that their clients were polluting the area with waste.
“Clients have the option of accessing the Sassa Eersteriver office or any other Sassa office most convenient for them. All Sassa offices are operating on a booking system and in compliance with the Covid- 19 workplace regulations, we operate with 50% of our total staff capacity,” she said.