Photo: Flickr / GCIS
Photo: Flickr / GCIS
The Department of Social Development has announced its new plan to reduce long hours of waiting in a queue for grant money in South Africa. The much-needed change comes as almost half of the country’s citizens are now reliant on some form of financial assistance from the government.
Before the new system is implemented, it will be piloted in two local offices in each of the nine provinces and once proven successful, will be rolled out throughout the country.
South African grant recipients will no longer be subjected to waiting long hours in long queues to receive their grant money. According to the department, a new system will soon be implemented that will cut waiting time and eliminate other problems that come with queuing.
Business Tech reports that the number of South Africans who rely on social grants has risen from 31% to 47% as approximately 10 million beneficiaries are now also dependent on the monthly R350 special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant.
To accommodate the big increase, the department is implementing a new ticketing system to introduce improved queue management.
The system will identify the services an applicant requires and then give them a corresponding ticket. This will allow the applicant to sit anywhere inside the grant office building until their ticket number is called.
The department says that this will not only help the line go faster but will also eliminate the need for people to move from chair to chair as well as stop others from buying and selling positions in the queue.
“This will do away with the current process where queues are managed through shifting positions on chairs, resulting in people being too scared to leave the chair they are sitting on, in fear of losing their place in the queue. It will also prevent those who take advantage of people queuing, by selling them priority places in the queue.
“By using this system, the local offices will accurately be able to confirm the numbers of people served in any one day, the actual services they provided and also empower the local office manager to intervene when there are blockages by assigning staff to where the most pressure is.”
Before the new queue management system is rolled out across the country, it will be piloted in two grant offices in each of the country’s nine provinces.
The amount of time taken for the system to roll out is also dependent on the procurement of resources and hardware such as computer systems, loudspeakers, and ticket printers, the department said.
The total cost will be between R170 000 and R200 000 but is dependent on the size and layout of the application sites.
“The queue management system is not directly intended to address the overcrowding of offices and the need to access the queues early. SASSA is currently also considering and piloting various online systems, which will reduce demand for accessing the physical premises and to allocate timeslots/bookings to applicants,” the department said.