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SASSA Queues In Khayelitsha Are Long



SASSA Queues In Khayelitsha Are Long

SASSA Queues In Khayelitsha Are Long. In the heart of Khayelitsha, Cape Town, outside the Kuyasa library, a scene unfolds daily that paints a poignant picture of the challenges faced by many South Africans seeking assistance from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). On a typical Wednesday, more than a hundred people, often accompanied by infants in tow, endure the discomforts of long queues, hoping to apply for a Child Support Grant or to check the status of their applications.

Early Birds and Frustrated Hopefuls: Voices from the Queue

“I have been here since 5 am. My cousin had come earlier to queue for me around 3 am, which is why I am a bit closer. I am here to apply for a child support grant,” shared a Khayelitsha mother who wished to be identified only as Nomsa. She highlights the necessity of arriving early due to the overwhelming demand for services. For some, the wait is so extensive that they resort to spending the night outside the office premises to secure a spot in line.

Athule Mhinga, a resident of Site B, echoes the sentiment of many as she stands further back in the line, her baby secured to her back. “I was told to arrive early, but it was not possible for me… I just hope that I will make it to the front of the queue before they close at 4 pm so that I don’t get turned away,” Mhinga expresses her concern about being served before the office’s closure.

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Relocation Woes: The Impact of Office Closure and Renovation

The challenges faced by those seeking assistance from SASSA in Khayelitsha have been exacerbated by the closure of the agency’s office in Julius Tsolo Street since July 2022 due to renovation works. However, a glimmer of hope emerged when SASSA reached an agreement with the City of Cape Town to lease two floors in its Kuyasa office from September 1, 2022. Despite this relocation, frustrations persist, as highlighted by recent protests outside the Department of Social Development offices in Khayelitsha.

Protesters Demand Change: A Call for Dignity and Accessibility

A group of residents, including elderly individuals and people with disabilities, took to the streets to voice their frustrations over the perceived inadequacies of SASSA services in Kuyasa. Placards bearing messages such as “SASSA 1 office in Khayelitsha is not the answer for 2.4 million people” and “Stop making people sleep outside SASSA premises” underscored the protesters’ demands for improved accessibility and dignity in service provision.

Organizer Sibongiseni Faku, representing Freedom to the Forgotten, emphasized the need for urgent action, stating, “The dignity of our people is being stomped on. Social development and SASSA are continuously shifting blame.” The memorandum presented during the protest called for the establishment of another SASSA office in Khayelitsha and emphasized the importance of proper training for social development officials in handling persons with disabilities.

Looking Ahead: A Call for Systemic Change

As Fritz Gezwind, a manager at the DSD Khayelitsha office, accepted the memorandum, the onus is now on authorities to respond effectively. With a 14-day deadline looming, the demand for systemic change within South Africa’s social welfare system remains urgent and imperative.

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The long queues outside SASSA in Khayelitsha serve as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by many South Africans in accessing vital social welfare services. Addressing these challenges requires not only immediate action but also a commitment to systemic change that prioritizes dignity, accessibility, and inclusivity for all.

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