October 10, 2018 / 6:00 AM / 2 months ago

Workers go on strike at South African social grants agency

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Workers downed tools on Wednesday at the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), which provides welfare grants to millions of poor people, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) said.

Around 17 million vulnerable people or a third of the population in Africa’s most industrialized economy depend on the grants for survival, underscoring SASSA’s crucial role in maintaining social stability.

The union’s main bone of contention is the roll-out of a biometric system for beneficiaries which it says has not been linked to new performance targets for its over 8,000 members at the agency.

NEHAWU said in a statement that it would meet with Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu at 1200 GMT for talks to resolve the strike.

Reporting by Ed Stoddard; editing by Darren Schuettler

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