The Black Sash welcomes any moves by the Department of Social Development and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to fight corruption and fraud, and make the payments of social grants more efficient and cost effective. We have long advocated that SASSA cut out the middle men and start paying grant beneficiaries directly themselves as a way of keeping costs down. But re-registering all 15 million beneficiaries is a massive undertaking and would not have been necessary if SASSA had owned the beneficiary data that it needs to create its own payment system. This failure to ensure that it owned and controlled the information gathered by third party paymasters over the years has been a major error that will cost us dearly to rectify.
The Black Sash would like to remind the Department of Social Development and SASSA of its commitment to conduct the proposed re-registration in a dignified manner and to ensure that beneficiaries are not unduly burdened or compromised in any way by the process. Under the right to just administration outlined in Section 33 of our Constitution, all beneficiaries should be issued with proper written notice, and be given valid and lawful reasons for the intended administrative actions that will be undertaken.The Black Sash would like to remind the Social Development Minister of the administrative mistakes that prompted us to launch a class action lawsuit in 2000 that resulted in the state paying out approximately R2billion in back pay to social grant beneficiaries.
We also call on SASSA to embark on a clear and effective communication campaign to ensure that all beneficiaries, especially those living in rural areas and on farms, are made aware of the intended re-registration plans and processes.
FOR INTERVIEW REQUESTS, PLEASE CONTACT:
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager
Cell: 082-429 4719
Black Sash KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Director
Cell: 084-430 6133