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Pensioners Still Facing Lengthy Queues for Grants, Despite Some Improvements

Pensioners Still Facing Lengthy Queues for Grants, Despite Some Improvements

While strides have been made to improve the distribution of social grants, some pensioners in Cape Town are still enduring long wait times to collect their payments. Last month, a technical glitch with PostBank left thousands of social grant beneficiaries without their much-needed funds on time.

Hours of Waiting for Financial Relief

At the Gatesville Post Office, approximately 80 pensioners were observed waiting in line on a recent Tuesday. One pensioner, Elizabeth Fredericks, aged 75, endured a five-hour wait to receive her grant. She arrived at 7:10 am and did not leave until 12:30 pm. Initially standing outside in line, she later found a chair and, eventually, was able to wait indoors for the final two hours. She did receive her full pension amount, including the recent R10 increase.

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Another pensioner, Rifatah Price, was in line with her 72-year-old husband, Mogamat, who was unable to speak due to a recent stroke. Mogamat had not received his pension payment the previous month, and he was now waiting for two months’ worth of payments, totaling over R4,000. Price expressed concern that they might not receive the full amount, as a post office employee had informed her that if there wasn’t enough cash available, they would need to return the following day to collect the balance. This situation was particularly distressing for Price as her husband relies on the grant money to cover his medical expenses.

Frustration and Concerns

Many of those waiting in line expressed frustration with the post office’s employees. However, Portia Zokufia, the branch manager at Gatesville Post Office, defended the post office, stating that the issues lie with PostBank rather than the post offices themselves. Zokufia revealed that PostBank has been unresponsive, making it difficult to address the concerns effectively. She assured that the post office had sufficient funds to pay all beneficiaries.

Some beneficiaries, like Nophakamisa Jacobs, 68, did not report difficulties receiving their grants this month. Jacobs had been waiting at the Gatesville Post Office for approximately two hours.

Meanwhile, pensioners at a Shoprite in Athlone reported no significant issues, with short lines and efficient service. Robert Thorne, aged 71, mentioned that he easily withdrew his grant money from an ATM that morning.

Regional Disparities in Grant Distribution

Thandi Henkemen, the Western Cape regional officer for Black Sash, highlighted that more significant problems are occurring in the Eastern Cape, where post offices are running out of cash.

At the time of publication, both the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and PostBank had not responded to requests for comment, leaving many questions unanswered regarding the ongoing challenges faced by pensioners.

The experiences of pensioners in Cape Town underscore the importance of addressing technical glitches and ensuring efficient grant distribution to vulnerable citizens. As pensioners rely on these payments for their well-being, it remains crucial for relevant authorities to resolve these issues promptly.

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