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Cape Town granny spends two days in Sassa office queue without being helped

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'I couldn't feel my feet any more because I only had a blanket and a piece of cardboard to sleep on in the cold.'

File image. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News agency (ANA) Archives

Cape Town – “I couldn’t feel my feet any more
because I only had a blanket and a piece
of cardboard to sleep on in the cold,”
said a Khayelitsha grandmother who
slept outside her local Sassa office since
Tuesday to be assisted. 

Hundreds of Khayelitsha Hundreds of Khayelitsha residents desperately queued for assistance
yesterday, with many having slept there the nights before to secure a spot. 

With the Sassa Eerste River office closed after a staff member tested positive for
Covid-19, residents travelled to Khayelitsha to be helped.

The 52-year-old Site B resident said she left home early on Tuesday morning with hopes of being assisted with her grandchild’s social grant.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said her grandchildren had to bring her a blanket as she saw that the day was passing with no hope of being assisted.

“I was surprised to see the time moving with no one saying anything to us, and we figured we would have to sleep there and be the first ones on Wednesday. 

“Little did we know that we would have to sleep there for a second day after people who were left over from the previous week arrived and were put in front (of the queue),” she
said.

The grandmother said the officials only took 60 people a day and the
rest had to go back home and come back again, depending on the services they required. 

“I haven’t been assisted,” she
said yesterday. “I can’t come back
tomorrow because they only deal
with social grants on Wednesdays
and Thursdays. 

“I will have to come back
again next week and hopefully be
assisted,” she said. 

Sassa spokesperson Shivani
Wahab said the Khayelitsha office
had experienced a high influx of
clients since operations resumed on
May 11. 

She said in line with the
government’s phased reopening of
the economy, Sassa offices across the
country currently operated with a
third of the total staff capacity. 

“Despite introducing measures
to restrict a high number of clients
from accessing Sassa contact points
and to restrict overcrowding, the
Khayelitsha local office receives
approximately 600 applications per
day,” she said. 

Wahab said a queue management
system and an appointment system
were in place and all clients at the
contact point were duly assisted.

“The Sassa Eerste River office
has been temporarily closed in the
week for sanitising due to a staff
member testing positive for Covid19.

“This has resulted in some of the
Eerste River clients accessing the
Sassa Khayelitsha local office for
assistance,” she said. 

Khayelitsha Development Forum
chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said
they were trying to intervene and
stop people sleeping outside.

Cape Times