Casual workers employed by the Department of Public Works (DPW) in the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) in the Kagisano-Molopo Local Municipality have shut down Public Works offices at Morokweng and Ganyesa in the North West. They are protesting against Sassa’s decision to cut their child support grants.
The workers allege that the Public Works Department notified Sassa that they earn R7000 a month, which they say is untrue. This comes as Sassa is investigating over 177 000 public servants who are said to be receiving social grants.
Morokweng is one of the rural villages in the North West with a high rate of unemployment. 50-year-old Popie Botsimi is one of the residents who benefit from the government’s Extended Public Works Programme in the area. She shares a one-roomed house with her four children.
Sassa halted their child support grants this month.
Many of her colleagues at the EPWP suffered the same fate.
Botsimi has also not been paid her salary for three months.
“We were getting R1 300. That was my income. Suddenly, I wasn’t getting paid anymore. I haven’t been getting paid for three months. The child support grant was also stopped for this month. So, I don’t know what they mean when they say I have an income.”
It’s been difficult for Botsimi, and she now supports her children through loans.
“It’s difficult because I don’t have food and toiletry. I borrow money from people just so I can buy toiletry and food; just so they can eat and bath while I’m waiting. It’s painful because I owe a lot of people. They want their money. I don’t know when will Public Works pay me because I don’t know what my kids will eat when they arrive from school.”
Sassa investigates 177 000 public servants receiving grants:
These workers are now protesting at Public Works offices, demanding the reinstatement of their child support grants. They also want the R7000 the Department of Public Works is allegedly paying them.
“I am heartbroken by the little we are paid. What hurts more is that they cut our children’s money. We are struggling,” says one of the EPWP casual workers.
“My child is disabled. They cut his grant. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Public works say we’re earning R7000 while we are earning less than R1500,” says another worker.
“Some of us, we’re getting R1 500, R1 900, R2 000 less. We want an investigation to see where’s the remaining amount,” says another worker.
Sassa says these workers were registered as government employees. They are now affected by ongoing investigations into allegations that some public servants are unduly receiving social grants.
Sassa Spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi says they will re-look at individual circumstances of affected beneficiaries.
“Sassa lapsed social grants of some public servants for the month of October 2021 due to the fact that their financial circumstances have changed. This was done in order to address the challenges of public servants who do not update their details with Sassa as communicated when their grants were approved. However, Sassa will re-look at individual circumstances of affected beneficiaries and reinstate their grants where necessary.”
The Department of Public Works did not explain why these EPWP workers are said to be receiving R7000, while they claim to be receiving less.
Sassa Grants | Casual workers deny earning R7000 per month, demand reinstatement of grants: