According to the Democratic Alliance, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has no dedicated staff assigned to help with grant application appeals process of the Special R350 COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD).
Instead, they are relying on 10 staff members to handle the appeals, in addition to their other responsibilities. These 10 people have to go through thousands of rejected applications.
The fact that only 10 people were allocated to this process was revealed in a Parliamentary question directed to Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Social Development.
Which would explain why there has been many backlogs, of phone calls and emails, the appeals process. The DA does not think that SASSA and the Department of Social Development did the proper preparation for these appeals.
Temporary staff should have been employed to deal with the appeals process and help it run swiftly and effectively.
For most of the year, SASSA has been operating with a limited staff which is why appointing more people to help with processing the appeals.
The DA does not understand how a programme that “costs billions of rands be so thinly resourced.”
By the 28th of February 2021, all R350 SRD applicants should be processed, however due to them having so much backlog, the DA is quite concerned.
“Without any additional assistance to accelerate the application process and to deal with appeals, millions of South Africans will probably never gain access to this much-needed relief,” says the DA.
The DA believes that, “SASSA offices are under capacitated and ill-equipped to effectively deal with the existing backlog and it is up to the Department to show some leadership to address these challenges.”