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Court to rule on urgent application to halt Sassa strike

Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu approached the court arguing that the strike will impact Sassa's capacity to administer the payment of grants.

FILE: South African Social Security Agency employees picket outside the headquarters in Pretoria. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The Labour Court is expected rule on an urgent application aimed at stopping the strike by South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) employees today.

Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu approached the court arguing that the strike will impact Sassa's capacity to administer the payment of grants.

Workers affiliated to the Public Servants Association (PSA) are demanding salary increases.

Legal representatives representing Sassa and the PSA are expected to provide details on the exact job functions of the employees who have embarked on a work stoppage.

Court proceedings were postponed yesterday after the legal representatives failed to provide details on whether the workers fall under essential services.

Judge Hamilton Cele says he wants to know to what extent striking workers may be impacting on Sassa's capacity to administer the payment of social grants and affecting millions of beneficiaries.

The PSA maintains most of its members aren’t involved in the actual payment of grants.

Shabangu has also stated in an affidavit that there are serious allegations that Cash Paymaster Services refused to allow Post Office staff members access to pay points.

WATCH: Sassa employees picket for better wages

GRANT PAYMENTS

At the same time, some Sassa beneficiaries have not received their grants.

Beneficiaries have been issued new cards that should allow them to access their grants from Sassa and the Post Office. Sassa says the new payment system crashed.

However, it says it expects the payment system to improve from Wednesday morning and it will implement additional measures if grant beneficiaries are still battling to access their money.

Sassa acting CEO Abraham Mahlangu says they expect the situation to improve.

“We are going to be reporting on an hourly basis in terms of the improvement of the queues. If the queues are not moving fast enough by midday, we will activate relief measures, like food vouchers.”