SASSA pensioners sleep outside post office

Finally, beneficiaries are paid their grants, after delay

Photo of queue

Many social grant beneficiaries had to queue outside the Post Office in Pietermaritzburg again on Tuesday after a problem with the system prevented them getting their grants on Monday. Some slept outside all night. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

By Nompendulo Ngubane

5 May 2020

Some social grant beneficiaries in Pietermaritzburg slept outside Langalibalele post office on Monday night after a “glitch” in the system delayed their payouts. Others started queueing as early as midnight.

On Tuesday they were paid.

Mzwakhe Dlamini from Elandskop said he and several others had slept outside the post office because they had no money for transport.

“A few of us slept outside the post office. Others who didn’t have money for transport were assisted by the street hawkers. They lent them money to go home. The street vendors were helping their customers who buy their products from them. I had no-one and I was forced to sleep outside with the others. Other beneficiaries started coming around 12am. There was nothing we could do,” said Dlamini.

He said on Tuesday he received his money with the extra R250 amount added.

“I will be able to buy groceries. There was nothing left at home for me to eat. I only survive by this grant,” said Dlamini.

He urged the government to make plans for beneficiaries who receive their grant at the post office. “I don’t believe that it is allowed for people who are old like us to stand for long hours. There must be chairs and shelter we can use if we feel tired,” he said.

Futhi Ngema from GG in Snathing said she had arrived at about 2am, after queueing on Monday for hours. She told GroundUp she had now been paid and was rushing to buy groceries because she had left her two grandchildren with her neighbours.

Zakhele Mngoma from Mpumuza said she was accompanying her daughter who receives a disability grant. The family of six all depend on the grant. “Today you can see something is happening. Yesterday was a mess and this is a lesson to our government. People are now forced to camp a day before payday. It is not right. I could not face the people I left at home yesterday when I came back empty-handed. We had phuthu (dry pap) and sugar water. It was the only thing we could have for supper,” said Mngoma.

In a statement, SASSA communication and marketing director Sandy Godlwana said the payment system glitch which had affected old age and disability beneficiaries had been resolved.

Godlwana said funds were released to beneficiaries’ accounts late on Monday. “Today, SASSA officials have been deployed to monitor various pay points in the region and have confirmed that payments are progressing smoothly,” said Godlwana in a statement.

She said SASSA apologised to beneficiaries for the inconvenience.