The Durban District office of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has not paid its rent for over five years and owes over R6 million, while the Ritchie Local Office of the Northern Cape has not paid its rent for ten years.
These are a some of the responses provided by the state agency in November 2022 in response to DA MP Bridget Masango’s question over due rent at several SASSA offices.
According to Paseka Letsatsi, a spokesperson for SASSA, these payment issues are the result of delays or incorrect invoices issued by municipalities.
At least 19 SASSA offices had unpaid rent bills, seven of which were located in KwaZulu-Natal.
Since then, SASSA informed GroundUp that it has only paid the rent for a portion of these premises.
In the Eastern Cape, the Nelson Mandela Metro District Office, which is located in a Post Office building in Gqeberha, has rent arrears of little over R1 million. The regional management of SASSA has reportedly suspended payment unless the Post Office fixes Occupational Health and Safety noncompliance issues. This office, according to Letsatsi, closed in December 2021 and is anticipated to reopen in February 2023.
Similarly, the Gauteng branch office in Kempton Park has not been paid for several months.
According to SASSA, bills received in October 2022 were inaccurate.
The municipality was instructed to alter the bills and give new banking information, but according to SASSA, no amended invoices have been received.
The Ritchie Local Office in the Northern Cape has not paid its rent for a decade.
SASSA is still in negotiations with the landlord, according to Letsatsi.
According to SASSA, municipal service invoices for its Phillipstown and Noupoort offices have not been released.
Six years have passed without payment for municipal services in Phillipstown, as SASSA disputes the rent amount owed for the building it shares with the municipality.
Due to a “discrepancy,” Noupoort has not paid its municipal fee for over eight years.
Letsatsi stated that “the majority of rent nonpayment issues are due to either a delay in municipalities issuing invoices or incorrect invoices being sent.” He stated that despite issuing monthly reminders to municipalities, there is frequently no reaction.
KwaZulu-Natal had the greatest number of offices with unpaid rent, some of which dated back several years.
The rent for the Archie Gumede office has not been paid for nearly a decade.
Additionally, the Durban District office has not paid its rent for more than five years and owed more than R6 million.
According to SASSA, despite the unpaid rent, the offices are “operating at full capacity.”
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