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DA gives Zulu ultimatum on opening Sassa offices


Party instructs lawyers to launch court application if minister fails to ‘see reason and do the right thing’

THE DA has given Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu until 5pm on Monday to agree to open the offices of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) or face legal action. 

DA spokesperson on social development Bridget Masango said there was a clear need to open Sassa offices countrywide to deal with the flood of applications for social grants and welfare relief during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

“We have given Minister Zulu until 5pm today to respond to our very reasonable request. The DA’s lawyers are instructed to launch a court application to compel government to open Sassa offices if the minister fails to see reason and do the right thing.”

Masango said the DA has consistently called for the opening of Sassa’s offices, with appropriate safety measures, to assist those left vulnerable by the lockdown that began on March 26.

“And time and again the minister has not only ignored the pleas of the party, but she also seems deaf to the cries of desperation sounding in the streets.”

Masango said it was a stark reality that many who would take advantage of the R350 social relief distress grant made available by the government in light of the crisis were not logistically able to apply via dedicated hotlines or send e-mail, text and WhatsApp applications.

“It is therefore utterly nonsensical that in an attempt to address these potential technological challenges, the department plans to rather spend money to train volunteers and buy them equipment to assist those in need. This, while Sassa offices remain closed, and trained and paid employees sit at home,” she added.

“This money can surely be better spent on food parcels for vulnerable families.”

– African News Agency (ANA)