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Nehawu announces national strike at Sassa offices

The union has accused management at Sassa of refusing to resolve problems that have risen from the recent migration of grant payments from CPS to the South African Post Office.

Nehawu leadership briefing the media on the impending national strike at Sassa offices. Picture: Thando Khubeka/EWN

BRAAMFONTEIN - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) has announced a national strike at all South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) offices from Wednesday.

The union has accused management at the agency of refusing to resolve problems that have risen from the recent migration of grant payments from Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to the South African Post Office.

Nehawu says a newly integrated biometric enrollment system was introduced unilaterally and has been plagued by technical glitches.

Secretary general Zola Saphetha says the union has been left with no choice but to take to the streets over Sassa’s failure to address technical problems from the introduction of the biometric enrollment of beneficiaries.

"The system also affects and blocks grant payments to beneficiaries because it fails to generate pin codes due to technical glitches."

Saphetha says workers have been left frustrated.

"This has resulted in unhappiness, anxiety amongst workers simply because the biometric enrollment for beneficiaries is a new function that employees were not consulted on."

The total shut down will start on Wednesday with pickets at all Sassa offices nationwide.

'NEW SYSTEM VULNERABLE TO FRAUD & HACKERS'

Saphetha says not only has the new biometric system left workers frustrated but beneficiaries as well.

“There are instances where beneficiaries came through to the offices and think that the problem is with the workers. We are saying, as part of mobilising them, that together we must find a solution. The problem is the system and not the staff.”

Saphetha added that the transition of administration from CPS to the South African Post Offices has been handled poorly by Sassa.

“Ours is to fast-track the resolution to the problem because it is a systematic problem.”

The union says amongst the list of problems is that the new system is still vulnerable to fraud and hackers.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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