SASSA’s response to NEHAWU Strike action

09 October 2018 | Media Release

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) wishes to assure all beneficiaries of social security that SASSA remains committed to ensuring that every eligible person can access their social grants without any disruption as this is their Constitutional right.
SASSA is disappointed that one of its Labour Organisations has threatened to embark on a strike action as a result of a disagreement on SASSA’s internal process of biometric enrolment. It is therefore important for SASSA to mention that the affected staff members were provided with training, to enable them to perform the function.
It is also important to clarify that the Biometric enrolment referred to is not a new function. This was previously done manually as part of the application process, where ink and a pad was used and the beneficiary’s fingerprint put on paper. When SASSA entered into a contract with CPS in 2012, the ink, pad and paper were replaced with digital capturing called biometric enrolment and SASSA discontinued the manual process as this would be a duplicate process.
Also, in its first report to the Constitutional Court in June 2017, SASSA reported that it would take over the biometric enrolment from CPS. This was later communicated to organised labour before the staff training commenced. Commenting on the strike threat by Nehawu, the Acting CEO of SASSA Mr Abram Mahlangu pointed out that “It is unfortunate that Nehawu should be resorting to a strike action because SASSA has been in talks with Nehawu regarding its grievances relating to the level of training on biometric enrolment provided to staff. SASSA went to an extent of rescinding all disciplinary processes against employees who refuse to perform the biometric function pending engagements with Nehawu”. Mahlangu further pointed out that “Thus far, an agreement has been reached to provide additional training to employees who so wish to enable themselves to perform this critical function.” Mahlangu says SASSA has also committed to commencing with the process to re-evaluate the whole grants value chain. He says the process includes re-evaluating the biometric enrolment function itself and determining its impact on staff.
A meeting was held between SASSA and Nehawu on 25 September 2018 wherein SASSA planned to demonstrate the grants process, including the biometric enrolment. It is unfortunate that Nehawu walked out of the meeting before the actual presentation and demonstration of the process. It is also worth mentioning that SASSA believes in the capability of its employees and their quest to service the most vulnerable of our society. Mahlangu concluded by pointing out that “As SASSA, we call upon Nehawu to resume engagements with us so we can find an amicable way of resolving any outstanding issues regarding Biometrics so we can continue to provide our beneficiaries with the excellent level of service that SASSA is renowned for.”       
Issued on behalf of SASSA
For further information please contact:
Paseka Letsatsi
SASSA Spokesperson
082 883 9969
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