President Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act when He made an announcement on the 15th of March 2020. Government has prohibited large gatherings of no more than 100 people and as SASSA, we work with people and communities, our offices are often jam-packed on a daily basis because of the services we provide to the country at large.
This situation calls for urgent action to be taken in ensuring that we comply with the preventative measures announced by the President. The following are measures that will be put in place during social grants payments and at local offices: Management of paypoints or SAPO branches during payment SASSA will continue to make direct payments to beneficiaries’ private bank accounts. These grants will be available on the 1st of April 2020 and can be withdrawn from retail shops or ATM banks. However, beneficiaries are cautioned of the high pedestrians’ traffic at shopping malls and outlets, which poses a health risks during these period. Therefore beneficiaries are discouraged from all flocking to outlets or ATMs on the first day. Once SASSA has paid money into a beneficiary account, it will stay there and can be accessed at any day of the month.
Social grants payments at pay points will be done from the 03rd to the 09th of April 2020, at different paypoints. SASSA NW has a total of 146 paypoints, with 20 having paid more than 200 beneficiaries for the past three months.
However, these beneficiaries do not come all at the same time to the pay points. SASSA will in line with the restriction of gatherings of more than 100 people work with different key stakeholders such as Department of Health to ensure that preventative measures are put in place. The following are strategies that would be put in place: Payment will be staggered – Beneficiaries will be paid in groups not exceeding a group of 10 at a time. Beneficiaries to be disinfected in groups of 10 just before they are paid and not while still outside. Seating arrangements will be done in such a way that it leaves 1 meter apace apart from one another. Beneficiaries waiting to be paid will be seated outside in groups of 30 with 5 meters space apart from one another. Beneficiaries will be sanitised before they are paid Additional cash dispensers will be used to ensure that there is no overcrowding around one or two dispensers at cash pay points and post offices. Beneficiaries who already received their payments will be encouraged to leave the pay point immediately without mixing with everyone in order to ensure that the number is kept at a minimal. Beneficiaries to be disinfected in groups of 10 just before they are paid and not while still outside. Frail and people with disabilities will be given preference
We urge clients not to come with children to paypoints as well as beneficiaries who are sick as they are considered more vulnerable.
The following measures have been put in place with immediate effect in all SASSA offices to ensure safety of our clients and staff and, most importantly, that no services are interrupted: ICROP / outreach programmes
These programmes are used as vehicles to increase access to SASSA services especially in far flung areas and identified poverty stricken wards. All ICROP and outreach programmes are suspended with immediate effect as most of such programmes are attended by more than 100 people including children and the elderly who are considered the most vulnerable. However, service will continue to be rendered in all local offices. Home Visits Home, clinic and hospital visits by SASSA officials are suspended with immediate effect. Where a client is above 75 years of age and is bedridden and unable to report to a SASSA office, an application process can be completed under section 15 and Regulation 10 (1) of Social Assistant Act, 2004 to have a procurator or proxy apply on behalf of the affected client. The chosen procurator must be appointed in writing and produce that letter together with all their documents including identity card so that the application can be processed. The application will follow normal process Local Offices. Only a limited number of people will be allowed inside SASSA offices to be served at a time. The number will depend on the size of the waiting area. The number allowed in must make provision for a 1 square meter radius space between clients and to ensure adequate ventilation. SASSA officials will be wearing masks and gloves for everyone safety. All clients will be expected to wash their hands before entering the office. Clients are advised not to report to local offices for enquiries and complaints but to rather call SASSA toll-free number 0800 60 10 11. We also encourage them to utilize our social media platforms. All the above mentioned channels will be monitored closely so as to give our clients the best service they require. SASSA offices will remain open and operating within normal working hours, however, will implement preventative measures for the safety of everyone as well as to ensure that people have access to its services. The Agency is committed to paying the right social grants, to the right person at the right time and place NJALO!