An interesting and fruitful community meeting was held recently in Aberdeen’s Ward 7, chaired by ward councillor Rudy Jacobs
The first part of the meeting was given over to Jonathan Tarantaal from the SASSA offices in Graaff-Reinet. He gave a clear explanation about the process of change from withdrawing with a SASSA card, to getting payments through a bank. Beneficiaries must first collect a form from SASSA, either from their offices in Graaff-Reinet, or on a Tuesday when they visit Aberdeen Showgrounds. This form then has to be taken to a bank of the recipient’s choice, where either a new account will be opened, or the SASSA payment will be lined to an existing account. This completed form must then be returned to SASSA.
A question was raised about those too frail to collect their own pension, and Tarentaal explained that a family member could be nominated to receive the payment into his or her account, provided that a power of attorney has been granted. Recipients will also still be able to withdraw at USave. Tarentaal also stated that negotiations are underway with the banks to reduce the fees that would be charged. A form is also available from SASSA for automatic deductions for a funeral policy.
Tarentaal closed by warning beneficiaries against unscrupulous scams, and urged them to only deal with identifiable SASSA officials.
Some of the ward committee members were then introduced to those at the meeting. There are currently two vacancies on the ward committee, as the representatives for business and religion have resigned.
Cllr Jacobs then explained how he had arranged a meeting last November with the municipal manager, and the directors of corporate services, community services and engineering and planning. He described this as very positive, although the proposed action plan, promised for November, was only received on 2nd February!
Various points were raised from the floor, including a comment that the palisade fencing around the park in the centre of town was erected upside down. Apparently, when this pointed out to the workers installing the fencing, they said that if it was placed the other way (with the sharp fork facing upwards), then children climbing over it would get hurt!
Many service delivery points were made, concerning the state of the municipal tip, slabs over water furrows, and the lack of available space at the cemetery. A disabled member of the community also informed the meeting about the difficulties she experienced accessing many businesses and offices in a wheelchair.
The final point made concerned the opening of the NMU satellite campus project, which should have been in operation already. Cllr Jacobs told the meeting that he had put in a bid at the relevant council meeting for the main campus to be in Aberdeen, to be central for all towns in the municipality. This is apparently being considered.