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Cape Town mother’s long wait for social grants

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SASSA pays out six-year backlog

Photo of woman and her children
Vathiswa Gqadushe with four of her children: (from left) Lukho, Iminathi, Enzokuhle and Simvile. Photo: Mandla Mnyakama
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A KTC mother’s long wait for social grants for her children has finally come to an end after the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) paid out the grants earlier this week.

Vathiswa Gqadushe, a 39-year-old mother of six, has been battling to get the grants for six years. Grants for two of her three sons were discontinued in 2010, when Athi was 14 years old and Simvile was five. She never got a grant for her eldest son.

Gqadushe says she approached SASSA offices in Nyanga and in Gugulethu repeatedly, asking for the reinstatement of the grants and applying for a new grant for her third child, Lukho, born in 2011. Each time she was told to wait. In 2014 she returned to the offices to register another child, Iminathi, born the same year, and to check on progress with the other grants. Again, she says, she was told to wait.

Finally in April 2016 she left for East London, only to be told, in September, to present herself at the SASSA offices in Gugulethu with the four children and affidavits. She took Simvile out of school in Mdantsane, returned to Cape Town and went back to SASSA. Officials promised that she would be paid out in December. But the funds did not materialise.

Meanwhile Gqadushe had given birth to another child, Enzokuhle, in November.

It was a tough Christmas, she says. The elder children had started to scavenge from the neighbours’ rubbish bins, says Gqadushe, who relies on the financial support of her 61-year old mother Nolisten, and on money earned from doing laundry for neighbours. The father of her older children died in 2011 and the father of the two youngest has left the family.

Finally, on Monday, she got the first of several instalments on the funds SASSA owes her. Athi’s grant has ended because he is now 18, but his mother has received backpay for him and his brothers and sisters.

“My children will finally have food,” said Gqadushe. “I will now be able to afford some of their needs. But I still wish that some investigation could be carried out to bring me clarity about why it has taken so long for the authorities to make the payout. No one has explained that to me yet.”

Shivani Wahab, SASSA Western Cape spokesperson, confirmed that the children’s grants had been approved. He did not explain the reasons for the delay.

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TOPICS:  Social Grants

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