CT's disaster relief aid slacking following Sassa takeover, says JP Smith

The City of Cape Town says humanitarian relief efforts for fires and floods have decelerated following a change in controls.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) took over the provision of social relief to disaster victims months ago, says the City's JP Smith.

The City's disaster risk management centre handed over the functions to Sassa, after the controversial agency took legal advice on its powers.

Smith says the City conducted assessments in the wake of local disasters and speedily coordinated relief efforts for many years.

However, he says officials have noted a significant decline in turnaround time, since Sassa took over.

According to Smith, the initial hours after a disaster event are the critical times when victims need aid.

Smith explains the City is notifying the public of the changes, after receiving numerous complaints about service delays.

He says city officials will engage with Sassa to find a solution to coordinating the assessments and aid.

We were initially hopeful that it would not have a service impact, but we can see that it [has] over the last period.

JP Smith, MayCo Member for Safety and Security

Immediately after the disaster, people are not getting assistance as rapidly as in the past because Sassa doesn't have the on the ground presence and capacity that disaster risk management has.

JP Smith, MayCo Member for Safety and Security

We are now putting the matter on record so the public understand who to engage around this.

JP Smith, MayCo Member for Safety and Security

I'm getting complaints of cases taking up to five days or routinely between one and two days... we were managing turnaround times of between one and four hours on average.

JP Smith, MayCo Member for Safety and Security

Take a listen to him explain the impact of the changes:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : CT's disaster relief aid slacking following Sassa takeover, says JP Smith


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