South Africa, Johannesburg – Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu has bashed claims from the opposition that she fled an incident in Bellville, Cape Town, where police officers sprayed social grant beneficiaries with water to contain a crisis.
“I asked the police to stop what they were doing because I did not think it was good what they were doing,” said Zulu.
She added that she was there with the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) boss Busisiwe Memela-Khambula to calm the situation.
The matter was now in the hands of the South African Human Rights Commission to deal with the conduct of the police in the area.
Memela-Khambula said they were working with other departments to address issues of distributing grants to beneficiaries without being disrupted.
Meanwhile, the portfolio committee on social development was on Wednesday getting a briefing from Zulu and Sassa on the case in Bellville a few days ago.
Sassa chief executive Busisiwe Memela-Khambula said they would extend the temporary disability grant to thousands of those who qualify for it.
She said the Covid-19 pandemic had wreaked havoc in communities and threw their plans into disarray.
“The extension of the validity of temporary disability and care dependency grants lapsed at various stages,” said Memela-Khambula.
She said their office in Bellville was closed following a Covid-19 case. She said they were also saddened there was a fatality in Durban on Tuesday at their branch as well.
According to the Sassa executive manager, Dianne Dunkerley said their budget was R172 billion, but they received an additional R48bn for the various grants including the caregiver grant and the R350 unemployment grant.
She said for the temporary disability grant beneficiaries would have to re-apply after it lapses and they have go through medical examination as part of an assessment.
If the temporary disability grant was extended until the end of the financial year it would require another R1.2bn, said Dunkerley.
The department of social development also revealed to MPs that there were 475 doctors who are doing assessments on those applying for disability grants.