DA KZN: Phoenix SASSA offices in a sorry state

Rishigen Viranna, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Social Development

The DA has written to KZN Social Development MEC, Weziwe Thusi, to request that the SASSA offices in Phoenix undergo urgent renovation and repair after an oversight visit revealed conditions which are hazardous to both staff and clients alike.

The unannounced visit took place after numerous complaints from community members about structural defects, poor facilities and a lack of basic cleanliness.  The building is currently shared by the departments of Health and Social Development and SASSA, with KZN’s Social Development department being the chief tenant.

The DA found the following problems;

–          Unstable metal roof sheeting that regularly falls of the building endangering staff, clients and vehicles

–          Numerous roof leaks forcing staff to use buckets to prevent internal flooding when it rains

–          Only one male and one female toilet available for clients – unacceptable for an office dealing with 800 clients per month

–          Only two cleaners for the entire building when according to the Social Development department organogram there should be seven.  There have been numerous complaints about the unsanitary nature of the toilets

–          An air-conditioning system which has not worked for many years causing the building to become stiflingly hot in the summer months. There have been numerous reports of clients fainting and allegedly 1 death as a result of the heat.

–          The unkempt nature of the internal ‘flower bed’/pit which is a safety concern for children

–          The unkempt nature of the surrounding lawns and garden which add to the dilapidated look of the building.

The DA is extremely concerned by these findings.  It is completely unacceptable that this facility should be in such a state.

Community members allege that their concerns have fallen on deaf ears, with the Department of Public Works consistently claiming that it does not have the funds to attend to repairs.

This is completely unacceptable.

The DA expects MEC Thusi to motivate for and prioritise the urgent renovation of this building by Public Works so that it can once again deliver hope and services to the poor in this community.