Image via: Sassa
Image via: Sassa
With disability grants issued by the South African Social Securities Agency (SASSA) only making provisions for lapsed disability grants that lapsed between February and June to be paid out until October, the The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for those that lapsed from July onwards to be urgently placed under the same scheme.
The DA have urgently requested that Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, needs to acknowledge that under normal circumstances, her regulations may hold water, but that they do not do so under the current unprecedented circumstances brought on by COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown.
Bridget Masango, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Social Development, said that Zulu needs to make urgent amendments to the regulations for the sake of the thousands of people who rely on the payment of such grants to support their lifestyles and well-being.
“The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu to urgently amend regulations regarding temporary disability grants,” she said.
“The regulations make provisions for temporary disability grants that have lapsed between February and June 2020 to be paid out until October, but grants that have lapsed from July onwards have not been covered in her regulations and are therefore currently not being paid out by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).”
She said that the grants are the only source of income for many people burdened with injuries and disabilities that prevent them from working.
“To many people with disabilities these grants are vital to their very survival. It’s their means to procure food for themselves and their families,” she said.
“It’s how they ensure the roof over their heads. And this oversight by the Minister’s regulations puts their lives and well-being at risk.”
Masongo asserted that Zulu appears to be under the impression that the country will not be returning to anything resembling normality following the disruption of COVID-19 anytime prior to the October date set out in her regulations.
“While it is normal for temporary disability grants to be reviewed under ordinary circumstances, the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown necessitates the continuous payment of these grants until all services are again run as close to normal as possible.
“In her regulations, the Minister clearly thinks that it will not be before October.”
She also highlighted the concerning lack of contracted assessment doctors in the Western Cape, where the distribution of disability grants is among the most urgently needed.
“The current situation is especially worrying as it recently came to light that there are only 10 SASSA-contracted assessment doctors in the entire Western Cape,” she said.
“The people affected are some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community and they cannot go without grant payments for four months.”
“The Minister must act with urgency and amend the regulations to ensure the continued payment of temporary disability grants that have lapsed in July, August, September, and October.”