'Dead man' seeking disability grant

2015-09-23 10:04


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - For over a decade now, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has failed to re-instate Steven Shange’s disability grant.

Shange from Edendale said his last payment was R740 which he received in 2004. After that, his grant was stopped when he was erroneously declared dead.

Shange suspects one of his family members might have been involved in insurance policy payout fraud which resulted in him being reported dead.

In 2005, the Department of Home Affairs confirmed Shange’s life status.

A letter from the department confirmed that after a thorough investigation, Shange’s death particulars were cancelled from the computerised register of the department.

A decade later, Shange is still fighting with Sassa officials who he says have given him the run-around.

'They call me a ghost'

“Sometimes they just poke fun at me. They call me a ghost, and say they will not speak to a ghost,” said Shange.

“They are really making things difficult for me. One day they told me that they cannot read the handwriting in the doctor’s note,” he said.

Shange said Sassa gave him food vouchers from late 2013 until late last year. According to Shange, he was ­never given an explanation as to why Sassa stopped giving him the vouchers.

“Even those vouchers were never enough because I was only allowed to buy food with it. I could not buy cosmetics or clothes,” he said.

Shange said he was struggling to make ends meet as the doctor declared him unfit to work after he went for an exploratory laparotomy after he was stabbed in the abdomen.

“My stomach got swollen because I had internal bleeding and had to go for an operation,” said Shange.

Shange, who has survived tuberculosis, said he sometimes goes to bed without food.

“Sometimes my neighbours do provide me with small portions of food. But it’s not every day. It becomes a problem when I have to take my epilepsy tablets. I cannot take tablets on an empty stomach. Sometimes I have epileptic seizures while I’m in town and strangers help me. Even if I have seizures at home it becomes a problem because I stay alone,” he said.

Shange said he could not even afford to pay his R50 a month rent.

Sassa spokesperson Mbizeni Mdlalose said: “He [Shange] has a right to apply for internal reconsideration where his application will be looked at by different people from district office. If he is still not happy about the outcome of the internal reconsideration he can appeal to the minister of social development through the appeals tribunal. Officials at local office level are trained to assist with this process.”

Read more on:    department of home affairs  |  sassa  |  pietermaritzburg

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.