SASSA has extended its condolences to the family of a man who died in a queue at its Gugulethu offices after he waited to be helped for many hours.
An elderly man, who recently visited the SASSA offices in Gugulethu suffered a heart attack and died in the long queue while another SASSA grant beneficiary was rushed to hospital while they waited to receive their Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants.
SASSA has since extended their condolences to the family of the man who died.
Community leaders say that the death could have been avoided as many people, like the deceased, queue for hours despite their health issues. Witnesses also reported that they had to wait 6 hours until the body of the deceased was fetched by the ambulances.
Many beneficiaries, stood in queues outside of the Gugulethu offices, told eNCA that they often wait in the long queues for hours with little to no social distancing being observed in the queue. They say that once they enter the office they are still faced with challenges such as the systems being offline and SASSA being understaffed.
“It’s a normal thing to collapse here and people aren’t even shocked anymore because it is something that they expect to happen everyday,” said a member of the civil society group Gugulethu Uprising.
He says that the Gugulethu office is understaffed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and that this specific office has to cater to 5 of the surrounding communities because 5 SASSA offices were closed. He says that the SASSA staff is unable to manage the amount of work they have per day.
He wants SASSA to clarify why the 5 offices were closed and what happened to the rest of the staff members.
SASSA says that it is aware of the long queues outside of the Gugulethu office and that it is doing all it can to resolve the situation, as a lot of their offices have been closed due to vandalism.
SASSA says that the deceased had already been helped by SASSA staff inside the office and that he had died after he left the office and waited outside for his transport to take him home. Beneficiaries who were in the line however say that this was not the case and that the long queues played a part in the death of the disabled man.
SASSA says that it hopes to deliver more infrastructure to help communities and those without access to the internet to make use of their online services which are more efficient.