Scuffles breaks out in Delft over SASSA meal vouchers

| Mihle Pike
Ntombi Ngwalangwala waits at the gates of the Delft library. Photo by Mihle Pike.

Hundreds of residents queued outside Delft library last week Wednesday in the hope of receiving one of 25 SASSA meal vouchers.

South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is the public agency that provides social security to help those in need. They issue meal vouchers to the poorest of the poor in Cape Town.

Residents gathered outside the Delft library in the hope of receiving meal vouchers.

The grant is not an unemployment grant. SASSA considers a person’s household circumstances before giving the grant. SASSA communication liaison officer Shivani Wahad explained that the Social Relief of Distress is a short term relief grant of up to R1,200 for people who meet its criteria.”It is short term in nature and usually awarded for one to three months,” said Wahad.

As the crowd outside the library grew, it became unmanageable, with lots of scuffling and pushing. Police were called to help keep control the crowd but it became hard as people were determined to enter the library and receive the grant. Ntombi Ngwalangwala, 28, said, “I refuse to let this list get in the way of me getting the voucher. I slept here yesterday in order to be in front and I also have asthma and sinus problems.”

“A rumour spread in Deflt that everybody can apply for this form of relief. This resulted in the situation where hundreds of people came to our Bellville office and where their names and basic information was taken down,” said Wahad. She also said that because of the misunderstanding a meeting would be arranged with councillors and people from the area to explain the purpose of the grant.

According to SASSA’s website you must meet one of these criteria to get a Social Relief of Distress grant:

  • You must be awaiting permanent aid.

  • You have been found medically unfit to work for less than 6 months.

  • The breadwinner in your family has died and you do not have sufficient means available.

  • You have been affected by a disaster and the area where you were affected has not been declared a disaster area.

  • You are not a member of a household that is already receiving social assistance.

  • You are not receiving assistance from any other organisation.

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