Last night, a group of very elderly and vulnerable pensioners were left to fend for themselves at a paypoint in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, after not receiving their grants.
The elderly had arrived in the early hours of Monday morning with the last money they had, only to be told that due to “glitches” they would not be paid their grant, which is a lifeline to many vulnerable citizens.
The group of pensioners had no money to return home and were left stranded without food and a place to stay.
The IFP leadership in Nkandla intervened by providing the elderly and disabled with blankets, food and a place to sleep.
This is a situation that prevailed throughout KwaZulu-Natal yesterday and other parts of the country.
Scenes of elderly people fainting after waiting at pay-points in KwaZulu-Natal for more than 6 hours, only to be told they cannot receive the little money owed to them, is a national disgrace.
It is clear that elderly and disabled citizens are now putting their lives at risk to collect their grants, a situation which we condemn in the strongest possible terms.
The IFP therefore calls on the leadership of SASSA to give the public an urgent undertaking that no pensioner will be left stranded again, that no technical glitches will occur at the next payment run and that urgent measures will be put in place to ensure that water, seating, masks and toilet facilities at the very minimum are available to the elderly and disabled at pay-points.
Furthermore, the IFP calls on Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to urgently provide clarity as to when SASSA offices will be reopened.
In many deep rural areas of KwaZulu Natal and elsewhere, it is the only point of contact for many to SASSA’s services.
The department must open its offices to enable them to improve access to the new social relief of distress grant as currently the Department expects thousands of residents of rural areas and South Africans at large, to spend hours on the phone or online to access this grant. This is simply not going to be possible as airtime/data costs are exorbitant and many cannot afford airtime or data costs at all.
Mayor Thami Ntuli
Chairperson of the IFP in KZN
Liezl van der Merwe MP
IFP Spokesperson on Social Development
082 729 2510
Les Govender MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Social Development
083 974 4894