A group of ill workers from Kanana in the North West are crying foul about the process used by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to determine their fitness to work.

They say they have severe medical issues that prohibit them from working yet their application for a disability grant was rejected.

Many in Kanana are unable to work due to being chronically ill or disabled. They have hoped to access disability grants in order to survive but they had no luck.

51-year-old Gladys Seretsi has been diagnosed with arthritis and epilepsy. She says her chronic diseases could not be medically managed and cost her her job. She struggles to walk and rely on crutches, yet her application for a disability grant was rejected.

“I told my doctors that my application has been rejected by SASSA so they should refer me to social workers and the social workers referred me back to SASSA and I still got rejected.”

Shasha Mohoto finds himself in a similar position. He suffers from silicosis but his application for a grant was denied as according to SASSA his illness can be managed with treatment.

“I have been affected by silicosis and when the doctor diagnosed me they said I qualify for a disability grant because of my medical condition but I was rejected at SASSA. I went to a Public Protector who referred me to SASSA again for recommendations but I was not assisted.”

Meanwhile, SASSA says those who are dissatisfied about their applications being declined, can appeal.

SASSA provincial spokesperson Nthabiseng Mosieleng says people have a right to an internal reconsideration if unhappy with SASSA’s decision.

“It should also be noted that if people are not happy with the decision that has been taken by SASSA they have a right to an internal reconsideration mechanism where SASSA can reassess the decision that they have taken. If after SASSA has reassessed their decision and still stand by their decision the applicant has a right to appeal to the Minister of Social Development within 90 days.”

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the social grants applicants says the process of applying for any social grant has become near impossible.