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News24 Wire
3 minute read
4 May 2020
5:18 pm

‘We are just trying to survive’ – Durban grant recipient in long line for vital Sassa pay

News24 Wire

'We don't know anything now. Sometimes government says one thing, but something else happens.'

Picture for illustration. Residents from Olievenhoutbosch can be seen queuing and practicing social distancing to collect their Sassa grants at the local mall, 30 March 2020, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Long queues from the early hours of the morning have left some Durban social grant recipients frustrated, saying they are afraid of the effects of Covid-19.

News24 visited the Post Office on Dr Pixley Kaseme Street in the CBD, one of the biggest in KwaZulu-Natal.

Speaking while in the line, Busisiwe Khumalo, 77, said she was “tired and scared”.

“This is always a long line for us. I am coming into town and risking many things in my life. This [coronavirus] is killing people my age, but I need the money to survive.”

She said she had travelled from Umlazi to get the money that would assist her family.

Survive

“I do not live alone. I also have my daughter and her son. She had to stop working because they told her the office was closed because of coronavirus. We are just trying to survive.”

Khumalo said she did not normally get her grant at the Post Office in the CBD.

“But we are worried about where to go. If you miss out, who knows when the next grant payment will come. We don’t know anything now. Sometimes government says one thing, but something else happens.”

When asked about a SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) glitch that left some receiving double their grants and others nothing, Khumalo said she had heard about the issue.

“It has not happened to me, but it happened to someone I know in my area, who never received money. I don’t know about double the money. They [Sassa] are saying they are fixing it. I think they will only get their money tomorrow afternoon.”

We are scared, no one talks to us

Another grant recipient, Nonhlanhla Mkhize, 71, from Cato Manor, said she was unhappy about the lack of physical distancing.

“We are all old and they are putting us like this in a line. No one comes to talk.”

She said money was important to her because both her grandchildren lived with her.

“If I don’t come here to collect the money, I will have no money and cannot feed these children. I wish we had more protection here. I don’t want to take this thing home to my babies.”

Accidental

News24 on Monday reported that Sassa was hit by accidental double payments in some areas, and no payments in others. This was due to glitches in the system as it tried to make payment days less crowded by extending the dates.

KwaZulu-Natal Sassa spokesperson Sandy Godlwana apologised after some beneficiaries found that their money was not available. She said some recipients in the Western Cape had been paid double by mistake.

She said KZN didn’t have an issue of double payments, but there were people not receiving the payment.

For those not paid, they could fetch the money from 15.00pm on Monday afternoon from merchant banks or the Post Office, Godlwana said. They could also get their money on Tuesday morning, if they prefer.

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