The community of Adelaide in the rural Eastern Cape met this week with the Department of Social Development and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). They wanted to know why the local SASSA office was closed as this has led to tremendous hardship for vulnerable older people and mothers who must now travel long distances to receive their money and to query irregularities.
After intensive engagement over the past months, senior staff of the Black Sash and the Alliance for Community Advice Offices of South Africa (ACAOSA) attended the meeting to support the Adelaide Advice office to hold government to account. Dianne Dunkerly and Mark Rasmussen represented SASSA National and SASSA EC, whilst DDG Thokozani Magwaza represented Department of Social Development.
A petition with more than 300 signatures was submitted to the government delegation. After deliberations, it was agreed to re-open the Adelaide SASSA office by 2 May 2014. The Adelaide Advice office will monitor this process.