GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - Planned protest action in Mossel Bay about service delivery by Sassa (the South African Social Security Agency), has been withdrawn after Sassa committed to address the problems.
Sassa Western Cape said it was alerted to the planned protest action in Mossel Bay via a social media message on 6 March. Complainants were very unhappy about the unavailability of doctors to render medical assessment services in the area, which led to a backlog of assessment requests.
Sassa spokesperson for Western Cape, Shivani Wahab, said sue to the scarcity of doctors in this area and the demand for doctors to assist with the Covid-19 pandemic, the backlog increased exponentially when a large number of temporary disability grants lapsed in December 2020.
To address this Sassa has contracted four doctors last week, to be allocated in the Southern Cape area. Three of the doctors will be focusing on Mossel Bay.
Wahab explained that the Department of Health previously supported Sassa in contracting doctors to render medical assessment services in the area. “Due to the overwhelming work load placed on doctors in the Southern Cape, the Department of Health was unable to render any further assistance to Sassa. The doctor who was directly contracted by Sassa in the Southern Cape, unfortunately passed on in February 2020,” she said.
Actively addressing the matter
After learning of the intended protest action, Sassa Western Cape management initiated an urgent meeting with community leaders, led by Mr MS Nhlangothi, the general manager responsible for grants in the province.
Stakeholders in attendance were briefed on the service delivery enhancements and interventions being implemented to address the matter.
“In addition to the appointment of doctors, staff at the Mossel Bay office will work overtime to expedite screening and finalisation of applications,” Wahab said.
At this meeting, consensus was reached that the planned protest action will be withdrawn. Sassa management committed to strictly monitor the agreed measures.
Sassa reported that community leaders at the meeting appreciated Sassa’s urgent response to the matter. Sassa reaffirmed its commitment to ensure that operations run efficiently to eradicate the backlog of temporary disability grants.
A follow-up meeting will be held in the next two weeks to evaluate progress made.
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