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Stories from KwaZulu-Natal

Unsatisfactory Environment at SASSA Site

Interview with Sithembele Manci from Umzimkhulu Development Services

1. What specific problem did you notice with regard to service delivery during your site monitoring?

The applicants were serviced in an unhealthy environment, where there were no shelters, no toilets, and very limited seats, not exceeding 30.  Some were seated on the grass in the very cold weather of Umzimkhulu, the officials were working in Park homes/prefabs without security guards or water tanks.  Also the officials were not getting stationery on time when they ordered it from KZN SASSA offices.

2. Have you decided to act to improve/change this problem? If YES, tell us more…

- what did you do?

Yes I did, by talking to the Acting Manager and addressing the matter with her.

-Did you work alone? Or in a group? If in a group, who joined you?

I worked with the CAMP Monitor of the area.

- What did you need to learn, to know better? Who helped with this knowledge?

I discussed the matter with our office Manager Evashnee Naidoo and we took it further

- Who did you communicate with? How? When?

After four days we held a meeting with the SASSA top officials and addressed the matter with them.

- What was the response to your action?

After tabling it with them then they promised to act on the matter at their earliest convenience

- What did you do next?

I wrote an email to them as confirmation

-Any public media?

No public media was engaged as it was resolved in the first instance

- Where does this action stand now?

The matter was professionally resolved by the SASSA team who ordered stationery and delivered it

-What do you still need to do? What support would you need?

Nothing, they even did more wonders on top of that – they relocated the office to the new building with a healthy environment. There is now security, veranda as waiting area, new manager, 15 new computers, and nice offices.


Problems with Computers and Plus at SASSA Site

Interview with Gugu Ntombele from Sicelukukhanya HBC in KZN

1. What specific problem did you notice with regard to service delivery during your site monitoring?

Applicants had to spend more money travelling to the office without getting any assistance from the office. People were complaining about the issue of computers at Ekuvukeni SASSA LO. We worked together with the CMAP monitors and communicated with the SASSA manager telephonically and he agreed that people are sent back and forth simply because they had issues with the plugs at the building. As a result they had to send people back without being assisted. Hence he had several meetings with the local municipality and the owners of the building asking them to fix the plugs, but he was denied.

2. Have you decided to act to improve/change this problem? If YES, tell us more… 

- What did you do?

We visited the office together with monitors, trying to see the office manager but he wasn’t there.

-Did you work alone? Or in a group? If in a group, who joined you?

When getting to the office I called him and spoke with him and he confirmed what was said by our monitors. We then agreed to take the matter further to the SASSA provincial structure – Customer Care. They sent a task team to address the matter, and they acted so quickly on it. Within two days the matter was resolved – until today they don’t experience similar problems.

- What did you need to learn, to know better? Who helped with this knowledge?

Nothing was so difficult but it’s a matter of being procedural by following the proper channels. But the presence of the Monitors played a vital role in picking this matter up. Our quarterly meeting with the Provincial structure helped a lot as they opened the gates for us to report to them directly any anytime should we see the matter as serious and needed urgent attention.

- Who did you communicate with? How? When?

Within 1 day from the date I received complaint I acted on it by communicating with the relevant structures within their department. As I said earlier that I visited the office and called the manager and also by taking it further up to the Executive managers.

- What was the response to your action?

They highly appreciated my action

- What did you do next?

I sent an email as a follow up to our conversation 

- Any public media? 

No public media was engaged because they were so co operative

- Where does this action stand now?

The matter was gladly resolved by Municipality who sent electricians to fix the plugs

- Any advice for other CSOs wanting to start or follow through on advocacy actions?

I am available to be help to those who might need assistance from me.



Filthy Mobile Toilets at SASSA Office

Black Sash Paralegal Fieldworker Jerome Bele picked up this story in the Newspaper and attended to it.

A local newspaper reported that the mobile toilets at Umzinto Sassa office were in an unbearable condition that brings lot of germs and bad smell in the yard. I acted on this matter firstly, to confirm this with the office manager who confirmed that he had heard about it, though he didn’t see the article.

In our meeting with the Provincial executive managers from Sassa they had told us to report all  occurrences to them, because of the good working relationship we established with them.

After talking to my local manager, I then reported it to Ms Rhona who then attended to it as they also heard about it from the paper. She promised to attend to the matter at her earliest convenience and also promised to revert to me.

The matter was resolved on the basis that they will ask the service provider to clean or empty the toilets twice a week, as he was cleaning it once a week. They found out that the toilets were used by the public when they got to town because the town didn’t have public toilets.  So they had to stop the public from using them, to be used only by the people who seek help at the Welfare SASSA offices.



Local Advocacy, Utrecht KZN

A store in Utrecht, KZN, was charging people for accessing their social grants at the store, and was continuing to do so even though our CMAP monitor met them to discuss this matter. On the 08th of June she had visited there after a tip off from beneficiaries and she met the shop owner/manager who refused to accept the no charge policy. He chased our monitor away from the shop in front of clients and a client who supported the monitor was also chased away. She was ordered not to come to their shop anymore, because she thought “she is clever”.

The matter was referred to the SASSA regional office by the Black Sash and a request was made for an investigation and an update on the outcome of the investigation.

SASSA has reported that an investigation was undertaken to validate the claims of the Black Sash monitor based at Utrecht.  Based on the findings of the investigation, Cash Paymaster Systems (CPS) has engaged their attorneys to terminate this merchant’s agreement with SASSA.