GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - People who fear that they will miss out on the Covid-19 relief grant due to lack of technology, need not worry. Shivani Wahab, Sassa Western Cape communications manager, has said that 220 volunteers will be mobilised to assist communities as from 23 May.
The assurance comes after a small community between George and Knysna, Club Timbers, complained that they have no electricity or smartphones and have been waiting for Sassa officials for two weeks.
A local farmer took up their cause and contacted George Herald. He said they are very isolated and only recently received four toilets and water tanks. "They have no public transport or electricity, but a soup kitchen visits that provide food." There are about 20 families wanting to apply for the grant.
Wahab said Sassa is working with the National Development Agency to mobilise 220 volunteers to assist communities that have no access to technology, in making applications.
Those with access to technology can use the automated application system. Applicants have the option of calling in, or sending a WhatsApp message, an e-mail or a USSD number from their mobile phones. To receive the grant, an applicant has to be over 18, unemployed, not in receipt of a social grant and not in receipt of any other form of government assistance (UIF, pension, NSFAS).
Wahab noted that no applications for the SRD Covid-19 grants can be done at any Sassa office. "Offices are not mandated to do any applications. Our offices have only been operational as from 11 May, and with one-third staff capacity."
Wahab also reacted to a complaint from Roderique Felix, who qualifies to receive a disability grant but said he has been experiencing difficulties. According to him, when the George Sassa office opened on Monday 11 May, he and many others stood in the cold from 06:00, only to be told at 10:00 that disabled people are not on their list. He would normally have to be seen by a Sassa doctor to deem him disabled, but after an operation earlier this year his doctors signed documents deeming him disabled and unfit to work. "All I need now is for my documents to be processed, but I was told they are not seeing any disabled people right now."Wahab confirmed that specific days are allocated to different grant groupings. Disability grant applications are handled only on Fridays, by appointment. Mondays and Tuesdays are for old age grant applications only, while Wednesdays and Thursdays are for child support grant applications.
Felix also complained that, when his grant expires, he has to wait a month to apply again. "My grant expired end of November last year, and that was also when I last got my grant. I got a date in May to see a doctor, but because of corona no doctors were working." He said it is sad that South Africa has decided to put disabled persons at the back of the line when it comes to any kind of help or assistance.
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