SASSA Bloemfontein neglects the elderly

Annelie Lotriet MP

DA Free State Provincial Chairperson

The De Bloem Church SASSA office have been neglecting elderly citizens in Bloemfontein since the 5th of December 2013. The elderly was informed that they would need to come here  to be assisted with the reregistration of their old age grants.

Some beneficiaries previously went to the main SASSA office to finalise their reregistration before the 13 January 2013 ‘deadline’, only to be told by officials that they can only reregister at the De Bloem Church Office. Some elderly citizens actually camped out in front of the SASSA De Bloem Church in fear that they may be turned away again before completing their registration.

I visited the De Bloem Church SASSA office today and found the office completely understaffed. SASSA officials couldn’t explain why the aged beneficiaries were not informed of their once a week operating hours. The facilities at this SASSA office are inadequate with poor seating facilities leaving the elderly to queue in the unbearable heat. SASSA officials here informed me that they would only be able to assist about a tenth of those queuing, forcing many to return weekly until they get assisted.

I will be writing to Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini and request her immediate intervention into the manner in which SASSA operates in the Free State. Rural communities elsewhere are also experiencing difficulties with accessing their grants and with the reregistration process.

Our elderly citizens and those dependent on other social grants deserve to treated fairly and humanely. SASSA is tasked to assist government in supporting these individuals in order to improve the quality of their lives. We cannot allow SASSA to further frustrate the circumstances beneficiaries find themselves in.