SASSA queues disability grant

Photo: Bernard Joseph / Twitter

‘People asking for disability grant extensions are being unfair to us’: SASSA CEO

The lapsing of the temporary disability grant has been branded a ‘humanitarian crisis’ by the DA – but SASSA feel like they are the ones due some sympathy.

SASSA queues disability grant

Photo: Bernard Joseph / Twitter

It’s quite a statement for, well, anyone at SASSA to make – let alone the CEO. Totsie Memela has potentially put his foot in his mouth on Friday, after suggesting that the 210 000 people who are reliant on temporary disability grants were ‘being unfair’ to ask for their automatic reinstatement.

‘Unfair to ask for a disability grant extension’ – SASSA CEO

Memela has certainly not read the room. After confirming to CapeTalk that there could be no ‘blanket extension’ of the popular grant, he suggested that recipients should be grateful for the fact that the payments were extended beyond their deadlines three times in 2020. The CEO praised Lindiwe Zulu for this move, but it’s unlikely to appease public anger.

We can’t generally extend [temporary disability grants] because the Social Security Act determines how we treat each and every particular grant. It’s actually unfair for them to say we cannot lapse them because the grants were extended three times last year – and it was as a result of the directives that the minister put in place.”

“With the minister extending the temporary disability grant, the Westen Cape has got the biggest numbers in the country and we need to explore why more people are affected in this province. Sassa in the Western Cape only has 16 offices. We have always worked in what we call service centres in the past. Now we can’t, because of COVID-19.”

Totsie Memela

Long queues could spread COVID-19 further

Long queues continue to build outside of SASSA offices on Friday, as recipients scramble to file the correct paperwork to get their disability grants back online. The mad rush has caused huge crowds to form, potentially creating multiple COVID-19 super-spreader events in the process. Memela’s words seem to have fallen on deaf ears: