Workers at the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) will on Wednesday down tools at offices across the country‚ the National Education‚ Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said.
“The national strike will run indefinitely up until all our demands are met by the South African Social Security Agency management‚” said general secretary Zola Saphetha.
Union leaders are to meet with social development minister Susan Shabangu later on Wedneday.
“[She] has requested an urgent meeting with Nehawu to try and resolve the impasse. As Nehawu‚ we will give the minister audience and hope that this impending engagement will unearth a suitable solution to the crises facing beneficiaries and our members‚” Saphetha said.
Among the union’s list of demands is that the biometric enrolment of beneficiaries be suspended‚ consultation on the biometric enrolment be prioritised and a job evaluation be undertaken in grants administration.
“Biometric enrolment is not part of the job description of workers … nor is it part of the Sassa grant administration business process. In rural areas‚ there is a huge shortage of the enrolment equipment‚ leading to delays in the servicing of beneficiaries. The system does not cater for workers living with disabilities‚” Saphetha told a press conference earlier this week.
“It also allows more than one person to log in using the same user identity and user credentials‚ leading to fraudulent activities.”
Saphetha had said the strike comes after numerous failed attempts to engage with Sassa‚ adding that “picket lines are the necessary way to go in trying to twist the arm of [Sassa]“.
“The strike remains a last resort after exhausting all available avenues‚ including seeking an intervention from social development minister Susan Shabangu … The intransigence and arrogance of Sassa management resulted in one option‚ the total shutdown of all Sassa workplaces‚” he said.
Naledi Shange -TimesLIVE