Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has reiterated that she did not instruct police officers to use a water cannon to control social grants applicants who were queuing outside the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) service point in Bellville, Western Cape.
“Once again, I would like to put it on record that I never instructed members of the SAPS to use spray water on the poor and vulnerable South Africans who were queuing outside Bellville SASSA offices. As the Minister of Social Development, I fully understand that social grants have been and continue to be a cushion for the most vulnerable in these difficult and unprecedented times,” Minister Zulu said.
Zulu explained that her visit to Bellville SASSA Office was to address the issue of long queues and to “ensure our people receive the much-needed services in a manner that uphold their human dignity”.
“I also wanted to ensure that desperate and vulnerable people do not have to choose between their livelihoods and protecting themselves and their families from the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The allegations that I instructed police to use water cannon on the very same people I went to assist are not only false and misleading, but also designed to cast aspersions on my character and the organisation which I represent,” the Minister said.
During a meeting held last week, Zulu informed members of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development that the use of a water cannon by police is currently under investigation by the Western Cape police to establish what exactly happened on the day.
Zulu has appealed to members of the media to avoid spreading false and misleading information which “advance political agendas of some political agendas, but which is not in the public interest”.