SASSA offices shut abruptly

SASSA offices closed due to upgrades.

Hundreds of South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) beneficiaries were left shocked when they were turned away from their local office next to Khayelitsha mall last week.

Residents who visited the offices were greeted by a note placed on the building’s fences stating that the office had been closed.

When Vukani visited the office last Friday, there were still a few people hoping to get assistance.

Nosipho Nonkonzo, who gave birth a month ago, said she was there to sort out her application for her child’s social grant. The 35-year-old said one of the workers told her that she must go to nearby SASSA offices.

“Honestly SASSA do not care about us. I mean they knew for months that these offices would be closed for whatever reasons but yet they did not communicate with us and make alternative arrangements,” she said.

Shivani Wahab, SASSA director of marketing and communications, an outreach programme would be implemented by the SASSA Khayelitsha Local Office, to ensure the bridging of any service delivery gaps, due to the renovation at the current site.

She said since March, SASSA has been working towards identifying suitable alternative accommodation to enable services in Khayelitsha to continue.

She said city of Cape Town halls were identified as an alternative but were found to be non-compliant in respect of stipulated Occupational Health and Safety standards. Officials had previously been robbed at a number of these halls including Harare, Site B and Site C.

She said SASSA had contacted Sub-council 10 to assist with the identification of alternative accommodation and had submitted the necessary documents for the application for Sub-council 26 offices located at Kuyasa library. They are awaiting feedback from the City of Cape Town.

“SASSA has, in addition to this, signed a lease agreement for a site in Khayelitsha known as Bikitsha,” she said.

She said SASSA also has two procurement instructions with the National Department of Public Works, which are in the process of completion.

One has been issued for a new office to be constructed while the other is awaiting re-advertisement for accommodation on Khayelitsha.

To enable business continuity, she said clients will be redirected to the nearest SASSA Offices.

Chairperson of Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) Ndithini Tyhido, said it was shocking that they would close without making alternative arrangements for their beneficiaries to keep accessing services.

He said a few weeks ago people had slept outside their offices so that they could be assisted.

He said they should revisit their decision and not cause unnecessary complications.