By Eva Chipa for Jacaranda FM
It has been another day of frustration for applicants of the R350 Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant.
This amid widespread technical difficulties at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
On Tuesday, both the Sassa website and the WhatsApp channel for applications were not working.
Spokesperson Paseka Lestatsi says the technical glitches are due to the huge influx of applications.
“The system opened last week Friday and we experienced about 2000 applications per minute, the system became very slow, however we can safely says that gov-chat came to the rescue to make sure other platforms are available for applications.”
Letsatsi says Sassa is still moving faster when compared to the previous round of applications.
“An observation we made as well, was that the number of people who managed to successfully go through exceed the number of people who applied when we opened for the first time during lockdown level 5.”
The Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) option for those who don’t have smartphones is also still down.
“The USSD is not available as we speak however we will make an announcement soon in terms of when the USSD line will be up running, we are alert to (the fact) that majority of people do not have access to smartphones, and we will definitely work on the USSD line.”
The WhatsApp line has been restored but to ease pressure on these channels, Sassa announced that applications can also be submitted via an app option called govchat.app and Facebook Messenger.
Online applications for the grant officially opened on Friday, and Sassa says citizens can apply during the whole month of August.
By Babalo Ndenze and Kgomotso Modise for EWN
Technical glitches and Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) staff members who failed to pitch for work were some of the problems facing certain voting stations.
These issues, among others, were reported by observers monitoring the elections in Cape Town.
The IEC has accredited 66 observer organisations for this year’s election to monitor the voting process.
While election observers said there haven’t been any serious disruptions since voting opened this morning, certain voting districts near Mitchells Plain and Tafelsig had been affected by delays.
Ryland Fisher of the Electoral Code of Conduct Observer Commission said a deputy presiding officer failed to pitch for work at one station.
“There were some polling stations were some staff did not come to work. In fact, four people did not come to work and that affected the polling station quite a bit. The deputy presiding officer did not come to work which was very odd because this a very big day.”
He said there were one or two issues of malfunctioning scanners, a problem that affected a number of polling stations from Woodstock to Hout Bay.
Problems in Gauteng
There have also been technical problems at the Onkgopotse Tiro School voting station in Ebumnandini resulting in long queues.
The West Rand township had been neglected, with community members being left without basic services such as toilets and electricity for over 19 years.
Voting was painfully slow in Ebumnandini and it’s all because only one server was stationed to serve over 4,000 people
Officials said the scanner had also been very slow, causing a backlog in the already long queue. They also said ballot boxes had started running out but they were making plans to get more.
Some voters have told Eyewitness News they decided to vote later in an attempt to avoid the long queues but the plan didn’t seem to be working.