With beneficiaries of the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant receiving the unwelcome news that the Post Office will no longer be operating as a payment facility, many vulnerable people find themselves stranded without desperately needed social welfare.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) have strongly condemned the move and have launched a motion to overturn the decision, failing which they have vowed to take legal action in a bid to ensure that the Post office remains a viable option for beneficiaries to receive payments.
Post Office suspend R350 SRD grant payments
In a joint statement by the DA’s Solly Malatsi and Bridget Masango, the opposition party said that the decision will undoubtedly cause immense distress to millions of vulnerable people.
“This move will no doubt disadvantage millions of poor South Africans who rely on this grant to provide for their families by forcing them to incur unnecessary additional travel expenses to access this grant outside of the communities they live in. Many rural communities struggle with access to Post Office branches as more and more branches are closed countrywide,” they said.
The DA refused to accept the rational behind the decision – “to alleviate long queues” – as “not good enough”.
“At a time when the cost of living is at an all-time high, poor South Africans need their government to provide them with the relief they need to make ends meet, instead of suffocating them with additional expenses, all in pursuit of reducing long queues,” they said, adding that he long queues at Post Office branches “are a result of the entity’s chronic inefficiency, shortage of staff and obsolete technological infrastructure and not because of the beneficiaries of the social relief grants”.
DA take action
In order to challenge the development, the DA said that it will write to Ministers of Digital Technologies and Communications and Social Development to urge them to reverse the senseless decision by the South African Post Office to no longer pay the R350 SRD grant at its branches.
“The DA will leverage all the parliamentary channels to oppose this move and if needs be, we will pursue legal action,” they said.