Cape Town – “I couldn’t feel my feet any more because I only had a blanket and a piece of cardboard to sleep on in the cold,” said a Khayelitsha grandmother who slept outside her local Sassa office since Tuesday to be assisted.
Hundreds of Khayelitsha Hundreds of Khayelitsha residents desperately queued for assistance yesterday, with many having slept there the nights before to secure a spot.
With the Sassa Eerste River office closed after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19, residents travelled to Khayelitsha to be helped.
The 52-year-old Site B resident said she left home early on Tuesday morning with hopes of being assisted with her grandchild’s social grant.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said her grandchildren had to bring her a blanket as she saw that the day was passing with no hope of being assisted.
“I was surprised to see the time moving with no one saying anything to us, and we figured we would have to sleep there and be the first ones on Wednesday.
“Little did we know that we would have to sleep there for a second day after people who were left over from the previous week arrived and were put in front (of the queue),” she said.
The grandmother said the officials only took 60 people a day and the rest had to go back home and come back again, depending on the services they required.
“I haven’t been assisted,” she said yesterday. “I can’t come back tomorrow because they only deal with social grants on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
“I will have to come back again next week and hopefully be assisted,” she said.
Sassa spokesperson Shivani Wahab said the Khayelitsha office had experienced a high influx of clients since operations resumed on May 11.
She said in line with the government’s phased reopening of the economy, Sassa offices across the country currently operated with a third of the total staff capacity.
“Despite introducing measures to restrict a high number of clients from accessing Sassa contact points and to restrict overcrowding, the Khayelitsha local office receives approximately 600 applications per day,” she said.
Wahab said a queue management system and an appointment system were in place and all clients at the contact point were duly assisted.
“The Sassa Eerste River office has been temporarily closed in the week for sanitising due to a staff member testing positive for Covid19.
“This has resulted in some of the Eerste River clients accessing the Sassa Khayelitsha local office for assistance,” she said.
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said they were trying to intervene and stop people sleeping outside.