IFP Youth Brigade: Covid-19 grants must be paid in a dignified manner

While the IFP Youth Brigade (IFPYB) welcomes the much-needed Covid-19 Relief from Distress Grant from government, the way these payments have been made to our people is undignified.

The South African Post Office (SAPO) pay-points – where grant recipients receive their funding – are synonymous with long queues, with no social distancing measures being observed. The elderly often wait for up to 48 hours prior to receiving their payments, and some even resort to sleeping on the pavement. The dignity of our people has been disregarded, and they are relegated to beggars.

People are making fires alongside the road as they stand and wait in long lines, for far too long. What happened to the use of bank accounts, to allow grant recipients to request that government transfer their funds directly, and thereby avoid long queues at pay-point stations?

According to recent media reports, a woman from Phoenix in KwaZulu-Natal claimed that people collecting Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grants at post offices are paying people to reserve places in queues.

The fact that our people are subjected to these queues, is untenable and undignified.

The IFPYB calls on government to reopen pay points in communities to lift the burden off the SAPO, and reach people closer to their homes. SAPO has admitted that it is under-capacitated for delivering monies to millions of grant recipients on time.

We cannot allow a situation whereby those who seek assistance from the state do so in a manner which impedes on their human dignity, and whereby the assistance is not delivered in the spirit of ubuntu.

We understand that many South Africans have no other choice but to reach out to government for help during this time, as our economy is near junk status and the Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the situation. However, South Africans want a hand-up opportunity, and not a hand-out.

Let us treat our people in distress with dignity.

Mthokozisi Nxumalo, MP
IFP Youth Brigade National Chairperson
072 819 5153