South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) is calling on the South African government to reinstate the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) child support grants back to healthcare workers.
The grant, which is just over R400 a month per child who is under 18 years, was suspended last month. SAFTU secretary in Nelson Mandela Bay, Mzikazi Nkata said,
“Many of us have information from SASSA that the grants have been taken away from us, because we earn over R 7500, whereas we for all these years have been receiving R3500.”
Nkata said their “employment has been halted” as the national treasury advised the department of health to apply for an exemption, putting a moratorium on filling vacancies.
“According to them, there is no money to employ us permanently. We have received a first-hand attack and brutalization of the state and this government’s austerity policies,” she said.
“We cannot endure this attack anymore; we have been for many years at the frontline of South Africa’s health system, walking from community tracking HIV and TB defaulters, our role within this health system was even more exposed, during this covid 19 pandemic.”
Meanwhile, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is also calling on the government’s health department to stop abusing healthcare workers.Thembisile Nogampula, the chairperson of TAC said,
“This child support grants money was taken from workers without any notice. This makes us furious because SASSA and the health department are both government sectors who should have identified the problem because healthcare workers are accused of earning over R7, 000 a month, whilst it’s a mere R3, 500,” he said.
SASSA CEO Busisiwe Memela-Khambula told JHR during September 2021, a routine check revealed that a number of public servants were receiving social grants, while SASSA did not have updated information on their income.
“SASSA suspended these grants, in line with the Regulations. However, it has since come to our attention that many of those whose grants were suspended were in fact, public servants,
such as interns, Expanded Public Works Programme and general workers, whose income would not exclude them from
receiving the grant.
“SASSA is in the process of reconsidering the individual circumstances of the affected beneficiaries and will reinstate their grants where indicated.
However, all those affected will still be required to review their grants, and provide updated information on their employment and marital status, to ensure compliance with the legislation.
These reviews must be done at the local SASSA offices.SASSA administers social grants in accordance with the provisions of the Social Assistance Act, 2004.” she said