By Doreen Mokgolo
Clients at the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in Kwa-Thema are forced to queue from as early as 4 am in a bid to be among the first in line to access the office’s services.
Though the centre has a fully furnished waiting area, pensioners and other clients have to wait outside in the scorching heat and even when it is raining.
When Scrolla.Africa visited the offices at around 2 pm on Thursday last week, people in the queue said that five clients had been called into the waiting area at around 11 am but they were then told by SASSA staff that the office had reached its target of 20 clients for the day.
Kwa-Thema resident Lebo Motsepe said the officials at the centre don’t care about their clients and “are only there to collect their next pay cheque”.
“On Wednesday I was turned back after I was told they had reached their target for the day and that they were offline.
“When I arrived at 7 am this morning, hoping to be first in line, there was already a long queue outside. Now it is 2 pm and I have still not been assisted, which means I have to return tomorrow,” she said.
Motsepe added that when people in the queue approached the manager to find out if they could enter the waiting area they were told to remain outside to wait their turn.
Pensioner Neo Matlabutla added that she was turned away three times in an attempt to get her SASSA card fixed.
“I am not even sure if I will be assisted this week and I fear my new details will not be captured in time for me to receive my grant at the end of the month,” she added.
Frustrated Kwa-Thema claimants have resorted to travelling to SASSA offices in Springs and Brakpan to be assisted.
SASSA spokesperson Nandi Mosia said clients are allowed to use the waiting area inside the office and that there was no limit on the number of clients the office has to attend to daily.
“[But] due to the size of the office only a certain number of clients can be allowed in at intervals,” she said.
Pictured above: Pensioners and other SASSA clients wait their turn.
Image source: Doreen Mokgolo