South Hills residents were excited about being helped by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) with their grant applications until their wish was repulsed on October 1.
This comes after Ward 57 residents were promised that they will be assisted to apply for older person, child support, care dependency, disability, foster child and social relief of distress grants.
According to the organiser of the event and member of the Patriotic Alliance, Lee Pretorius, to reach out to the community and help with SRD rejections and other forms of grants, Easy Pay was called to assist the community with the applications.
“Our community is suffering, the unemployment rate is extremely high, and such is poverty in Ward 57. That is why the crime rate is so high in this ward, to ease the burden.
“We, Patriotic Alliance, engaged with the Easy Pay personnel as they offer child grant and old age pension services and brought them on board to service the community. It turned into a political issue and the councillor told Easy Pay that they should not come and assist the community,” said Pretorius.
A multitude of people came to South Hills Recreation Centre to receive help from this initiative. However, things did not go according to their wishes as they were turned down since Easy Pay staff did not pitch.
The Southern Courier contacted the Easy Pay offices and spoke to one of the staff members who was supposed to render help on the day.
According to the employee, she received a call from the councillor who threatened them that if they come to help the people with the applications, she will send the metro police to get rid of them from the centre.
“As we were speaking to the councillor, I apologised that we were not aware that she doesn’t know anything about us coming to her ward. I suggested that she can come and see for herself that individuals do need help from us. She kept emphasising that we must not come as she will arrange something herself,” said anonymous.
Furthermore, this person said that people are not just struggling with applying for the social relief grant, but sometimes they do not have the correct resources to apply like data, phones, and sim cards or even know where to start with the online application.
The social relief of distress grant is intended for South African citizens, refugees, asylum seekers and special permit holders between the ages of 18 and 60 who have insufficient means, are not eligible for or do not contribute to UIF payment, are not receiving social grants on behalf of themselves and have no other financial support.
South Hills Ward 57 Clr Faeeza Chame said Easy Pay workers stated they work with Sassa. She called the Sassa offices to confirm this statement and Sassa said that they do not work with Easy Pay as Sassa is an independent government entity.
“No one has a right to threaten each other and as a ward councillor, I respect the rule of law. The interests of the residents, especially the vulnerable, must be protected at all costs and I am n communication with Sassa to see how best we can assist our community,” the councillor declared.
The Southern Courier called the spokesperson of Sassa to confirm their relationship with the Easy Pay group.
According to Sassa’s spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi, they are not affiliated with Easy Pay.
Further information will be communicated to residents regarding the official visit of Sassa by the Ward 57 councillor.