Mtwalume pensioners held up

2012-05-04 00:00

TWO brazen robbers grabbed boxes containing the pensions of shocked elders who were patiently queuing for their monthly stipends at the Mtwa­lume post office yesterday morning.

The men walked into the post office just after 7 am, pretending to be customers. Once inside they pulled out firearms.

Despite the early hour, pensioners had already started to queue outside the post office, waiting for their turn to collect their monthly grants.

Three elderly people were inside the post office, being served by two employees.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Zandra Wiid said: “One suspect walked in and pretended to be a customer.

“The second one then also went inside the post office. He jumped over the counter and held up the man and woman behind the counter with handguns.”

The men grabbed containers holding an undisclosed amount of cash and fled.

“Witnesses described to police that the two men, who were dressed in blue overalls, fled in an old-model avocado-green Honda Ballade.

“Luckily no one was injured during the robbery,” said Wiid.

However, the robbery was a cruel blow for the pensioners, many of whom support several grandchildren using their monthly pensions of R700 and monthly child support grants.

A 2011 study by the Institute of Development Studies showed that people on grants make up over a third of the population of South Africa.

Author and research analyst Nicola Hypher stated in the document that “in total 14 million people receive cash transfers, including the child support grant, disability and care dependency grants and social pensions.”

Police officers from Hibberdene and Port Shepstone joined forces with metro officers from the Park Rynie Road Traffic Inspectorate to search the area, but with no success.

A business robbery docket is being investigated.

A spokesperson for the SA Post Office in KwaZulu Natal, Nobuhle Njapha, told The Witness that the post office had been closed for the rest of the day and was expected to reopen for business today.

Njapha said staff members who were present during the robbery were not injured, but were receiving professional counselling.

“No customers were injured either. Customers who were due to receive their pensions will be receiving them tomorrow.

“At this point we can’t say much about the incident and there is an ongoing investigation.

“We can say that the security at the office is being looked at as well as an upgrade in security,” she added.

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