MINISTER ALBERT FRITZ
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
For elderly citizens to stand in the blazing sun and wait for the payment of their social grants, for more than 8 hours is unacceptable. I have today visited a paypoint in Elsies River and was shocked at the chaotic state of service delivery. The elderly persons waiting in the queue were exhausted, some individuals fainted from the heat and there was no sign of compassion from the service provider. The community was extremely angry, and rightly so.
While administering the payment of social grants is not a function of the Provincial or Local Governments, we have been compelled to intervene to protect the welfare and human rights of our elderly citizens. I have contacted the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Management Department for them to provide basic essentials like water and toilets. I have also asked for ambulance services to be on stand-by for any eventuality.
I have just been informed that these structures are in place and every effort is being made to bring relief to the thousands of grant recipients who have to endure the long queues.
Water and toilet facilities should have been made available by the new service provider, as is stipulated in their contract which is worth billions. This is a gross exploitation of already vulnerable citizens, for profit.
I will today be writing to Minister Bathabile Dlamini to request her urgent intervention in this matter. The infrastructure problems experienced by the new service provider should have been foreseen and contingency plans put in place.
I will make every effort to ensure that the Western Cape Government works with all role players in this regard so that we make the lives of the poor and vulnerable better together.