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SAHRC to meet with Sassa leadership over 'despicable' scenes at Bellville office

18 January 2021 3:04 PM
Tags:
Police
SAHRC
SA Human Rights Commission
Sassa beneficiaries
grant application
temporary disability grant
Sassa grant queues
Sassa leadership
Sassa Bellville office

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has condemned the use of water cannons to enforce physical distancing outside the Bellville Sassa office.

Grant applicants, including the elderly and people with disabilities, were sprayed with water cannons while queueing to get help on Friday.

There have been long queues outside various South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) offices in Cape Town as some beneficiaries reapply for temporary disability grants that were suspended last month.

Rights groups say that thousands of vulnerable beneficiaries who are sleeping outside in overcrowded queues outside Sassa offices are facing an increased risk of contracting Covid-19.

On Friday, public order police were brought in to the offices to assist with crowd management.

RELATED: Police spray Sassa grant queue in Bellville with water cannons

The SAHRC's Western Cape commissioner Chris Nissen says the use of water cannons on Friday was inhumane and unforgivable.

He says Sassa's lack of preparation and queue management has led to congested queues.

Nissen will meet with Sassa's regional executive manager Bandile Maqetuka on Tuesday to address his concerns and a number of complaints received over the past two weeks.

RELATED: We can't extend temporary disability grants again, says Sassa CEO

We condemn what has happened on Friday - that vulnerable, poor people who are desperate just to make a living and what something to put bread on the table can be targeted by the police.

Chris Nissen, Western Cape commissioner - SAHRC

It's inhumane and unforgivable. Those who did it must be held accountable.

Chris Nissen, Western Cape commissioner - SAHRC

Where are the marshalls that must come out and ensure that people keep the distance and give people the assurance that they will be assisted? Some of these people are there since 4am and they are worried about losing their place.

Chris Nissen, Western Cape commissioner - SAHRC

I think it's despicable that our people should be treated like that by Sassa and then on top of that being hosed down.

Chris Nissen, Western Cape commissioner - SAHRC

The police came in because Sassa failed to have a queue management process in place.

Chris Nissen, Western Cape commissioner - SAHRC

Listen to the discussion on The Midday Report with Lester Kiewit:




18 January 2021 3:04 PM
Tags:
Police
SAHRC
SA Human Rights Commission
Sassa beneficiaries
grant application
temporary disability grant
Sassa grant queues
Sassa leadership
Sassa Bellville office

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