After running for almost a decade and then having to be closed in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) satellite office that used to operate in Ward 8 has reopened its doors.
With the help of Ward 8 councillor, Gustav Rautenbach, the satellite office first opened to the public at the beginning of September 2011.
This was due to a high demand for SASSA-related services in the area and residents asking Rautenbach why there was not a SASSA office in their ward.
In 2010, Rautenbach got the ball rolling by contacting SASSA to discuss the possibility of having a satellite office in the ward.
This took more than a year and he was ecstatic when it finally started to take shape.
The only challenge was to find suitable premises for the office and before long the Storehouse New Covenant Church in Lorraine offered up their premises and by the end of August that year, SASSA started providing much-needed services to the community.
When COVID-19 struck and the national lockdown was implemented in March 2020, the satellite office had to close its doors, too.
This time around, however, the satellite office will be at the Methodist Church in Luneville Road and will operate every Tuesday from 10:00 until 13:00.
The office already welcomed its first influx of customers last Tuesday. Rautenbach said that this is a partnership between SASSA, Ward 8 and the Methodist Church.
“Residents have been going to the SASSA offices in Walmer, which is the nearest, but the same services that are offered there, will now be offered here at the satellite office,” he said.
This includes new applications for social grants but any other SASSA-related enquiries will also be attended to. The Walmer Counter Service team will initially operate with the minimum of two attesters and one verifier but can expand if the need arises.
“This will once again mean so much for the community,” Rautenbach said.
“Residents don’t have to travel so far anymore since SASSA is bringing the services to the community. It’s closer because it’s in the immediate vicinity of residents, making it safer for them too. In a way, SASSA officials can give more personal attention to every individual.
“I would believe that the queues will be shorter and instead of sitting outside in the rain, cold and heat, people will now be able to sit inside a hall. This is wonderful,” he added.
Rautenbach also extended his gratitude to the Methodist Church for availing their premises to the officials and communities.
“I am calling on the communities to make use of and support this service,” he said.