Guest Column

Depending on grants, for bitter or for worse

2017-03-05 06:10
Paddy Harper

Paddy Harper

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Paddy Harper

Thursday evening. It’s been a long week – two days of moving house in Durban’s maddening heat can do that. My muscles are aching from carting furniture, my legs and arms are tattooed with scratches and bruises, and all I want to do is throw my battered body into the ocean.

With a massive pile of yet-to-be-raked muck in front of me and a nasty easterly blowing, the beach is out as a means to beating the heat. Likewise a cold one. I’ve never been a one-beer kinda cat. I start drinking now and the results will be catastrophic.

I decide to head down the hill and meet up with my bras, Arab and Muks, for a cup of tea. Black tea is an old year-round Durban staple, guaranteed to ward off the cold and banish the heat. Arab and Muks are both Muslim, so it’s their tipple of choice.

My man Charles Bronson – he got the unwelcome moniker as a result of his macho tendencies and having a face like an old army boot – is there when I land. Bronson’s more of a beer man, but he abides by Arab’s no-booze house rule.

Muks is a former truck driver, but can’t drive because of a muscular affliction that’s crippled his hands and feet for the past 10 years or so. Muks has been in and out of state hospitals, from neurologist to neurologist, with no result – his condition is permanent and is never going to get better.

Two years back, Muks swallowed his pride and applied for a disability grant. He spent another few months moving between the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) offices, the King Dinuzulu Hospital and the department of home affairs, and eventually completed all the tests and was given a disability grant for a 12-month period.

Muks is stoked. He’s just come back from the Sassa office after doing an annual assessment. He’s “passed” with flying colours and has been declared permanently disabled. Muks’ wife and one daughter are unemployed and the family depends on his other daughter’s salary, so the R1 410 monthly disability payment makes a big difference to their lives.

Muks’ bubble is in serious danger of being burst at the end of March when Sassa won’t be able to make his payout and the grants of 17 million other South Africans because of the complete f*ck-up Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and her bras at Cash Paymaster Services have made of the entire system, but he doesn’t know it yet.

The sweet tea in my mouth suddenly tastes bitter.

Read more on:    sassa  |  bathabile dlamini  |  social grants
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