Shivani Wahab, director: marketing and communications, South African Social Security Agency

With regards to “Hours in grant queue bears no fruit”, Plainsman, November 25, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) operating hours are from 7.30am until 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Long queues at some Sassa contact points have been an ongoing issue.

Clients have always been advised to never sleep over at any contact point for services.

Sassa cannot confirm that this is the case at the Mitchell’s Plain Local Office as clients are interviewed at an intake desk every morning, commencing at 7.30am, when the office opens for daily operations.

Staff conduct queue management at this point as well as outside all contact points.

All Sassa contact points have implemented the appointment system during level 3 of the national lockdown.

This system is currently in place during level 1 as well.

As per a national directive, grant type days were implemented at all Sassa contact points to further reduce a high influx and to ensure hygiene protocols in line with Covid-19 guidelines –Monday and Tuesday for pensioners; Wednesday and Thursday for child support grants; and Fridays for disability grants.

To fast-track long queues and avoid overcrowding at any contact point, a ticketing numbering system has been implemented at the Mitchell’s Plain office.

This contact point assists an average of 150 clients a day.

For all child support grant applications, like all other social grant applications, certain stipulated criteria must be met. These include,

for the child support grant, the primary caregiver must be a South African citizen or permanent resident; both the applicant and the child must reside in South Africa; the applicant must be the primary caregiver of the child or children concerned; the child or children must have been born after December 1993; the applicant and spouse must meet the requirements of the means test; cannot apply for more than six non-biological children (primary caregiver); and the child cannot be cared for in a state institution.

A child support grant application may be done at the nearest Sassa contact point.

The Sassa Mitchells Plain Local Office is operational with a 50% staff capacity due to Covid-19 workplace regulations.

Staff must ensure that social distancing is strictly adhered to, by all people at any contact point. As stipulated by Occupational Health and Safety Protocols, at all offices, this is in the best interests of both clients and staff.

We are currently in the process of finalising an online application system, which will allow for applications to be done without having to physically access any contact point.

Sassa remains committed to serving all clients, to the best of our ability, despite the challenges experienced by Covid-19 and the national lockdown.