The Department of Social Development says it is working on a new system which is expected to help reduce the wait time for grants in South Africa.
Almost half of all South Africans now rely on some financial support from the government. About 31% of the South African population relies on social grants – which include everything from disability to childcare.
However, there are approximately 10 million beneficiaries who depend on the monthly R350 special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant alone. This increases the number of South Africans who rely on social transfers to about 47%.
To accommodate this rapid increase in recipients, the department said it will introduce a new ticketing system to act as queue management. This system identifies the services that an applicant would like to access and then issues a corresponding ticket to the applicant. The person is then able to sit anywhere in the office and wait for his/her ticket number to be called.
“This will do away with the current process where queues are managed through shifting positions on chairs, resulting in people being too scared to leave the chair they are sitting on, in fear of losing their place in the queue. It will also prevent those who take advantage of people queuing, by selling them priority places in the queue.
“By using this system, the local offices will accurately be able to confirm the numbers of people served in any one day, the actual services they provided and also empower the local office manager to intervene when there are blockages by assigning staff to where the most pressure is.”
The department said the queue management system will initially be piloted in two local offices in each of the nine provinces, after which it will be progressively rolled out to all local offices, in accordance with available resources.
Implementation depends on the procurement of hardware such as computers, monitors, tablets, ticket printers and a loudspeaker system, it said. The cost is estimated to be between R170,000 to R200,000 per site for rolling out the required infrastructure. This will vary depending on the size and layout of the application sites, the department said.
“The queue management system is not directly intended to address the overcrowding of offices and the need to access the queues early. SASSA is currently also considering and piloting various online systems, which will reduce demand for accessing the physical premises and to allocate timeslots/bookings to applicants,” the department said.
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