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No seats, toilets for grant beneficiaries

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“It also makes it difficult that all the grants are paid out on the same day each month as there are no other cash depots in the area.”

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THE SOUTH African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has committed to providing basic amenities for its beneficiaries who collect their grants from post offices in remote areas.

A Mier resident, Meris Kocks, said that beneficiaries travel from far-flung areas, including Loubos and Philandersbron, to collect their grants, only to return home empty handed.

“There are no restrooms or water to quench their thirst, while they often wait for long hours in the queue. There are no seating arrangements so the elderly, including those who make use of crutches or walking aids, are expected to stand and wait,” said Kocks.

He pointed out that the town is not equipped with the same facilities found in bigger cities.

“It also makes it difficult that all the grants are paid out on the same day each month as there are no other cash depots in the area.”

Sassa provincial spokesperson Inno Khunou apologised to beneficiaries and said that the matter would be attended to on an urgent basis.

“After Sassa became aware of complaints from its social grant beneficiaries around Mier and the surrounding areas of Upington, a service level agreement was entered into with the South African Post Office (Sapo) to attend to the ablution facilities, provision of seats and drinking water and other technical issues.”

She added that Sapo would put a dignity plan in place in the Kalahari region, to ensure the provision of basic necessities for beneficiaries in the district.

“This includes the provision of water and hiring of chairs from the local municipality. The service level agreement is applicable to all Sapo outlets.”

Khunou explained that Sapo would give the necessary attention to long waiting times and the non-payment of Sassa grants for beneficiaries that were forced to travel long distances in remote areas.