The National Education‚ Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says it will indefinitely shut down offices at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa)‚ starting on Wednesday.
Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha said the strike comes as a result of Sassa’s refusal to resolve challenges brought about by the migration of the social grant payment system from Cash Paymaster Services to the South African Post Office.
In a press conference in Johannesburg on Monday‚ Saphetha said after numerous attempts to avert the strike by holding talks with Sassa‚ “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.
“On Wednesday‚ the total shutdown will begin‚ which shall halt all Sassa operations until our demands are fully met… Nehawu is prepared to wage a relentless war against Sassa‚ until they desist from undermining workers and the 17 million beneficiaries.”
The union is demanding 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 said.
“It also allows more than one person to log in using the same user identity and user credentials‚ leading to fraudulent activities.”