Elderly left penniless after payout glitch

2019-10-10 06:01

THREE months after scores of elderly residents and social grant beneficiaries walked away without a cent due to insufficient funds, South African Social Security Association (SASSA) payments are on track.

A pensioner and social grant beneficiary, who wants to remain anonymous, says that on numerous occasions he could not access his social grant on time at the Kareedouw Post Office – despite waiting for hours.

“Despite my arriving an hour before the post office opens its doors at 08:00, by the time I get to the counter two hours later, they have run out of money,” he says.

“Beneficiaries travel from far to collect their money – including Clarkson, Tsitsi-kamma and surrounding areas – only to have to come back on the second or the third of the month.

“This after they had to fork out money, which they often do not have, for a taxi and have to stand in line for hours on end.”

According to him, beneficiaries are often told by the cashiers to withdraw the money at an Automated Teller Machine (ATM); however, bank charges can amount to R50.

Sapo Spokesperson, Martie Gilchrist, attributes the delay in payment to a broken down vehicle. “The incident of there not being sufficient money for Sassa beneficiaries at the Kareedouw Post Office, occurred in July after a vehicle transporting the money broke down in a rural area,” she says.

“Payment commenced at 12:00 on that same day.”

However, residents are adamant that late payment occurred on several occasions.

Gilchrist says, “Contingency plans that met the approval of Sassa, were implemented in August, and all Sassa beneficiaries were paid.

“Going forward, we will continue with the current process to ensure we do not inconvenience our vulnerable citizens.”

According to Gilchrist, who cannot elaborate on the contingency plans due to safety reasons, those involved have the option of receiving their money at a post office, as well as at merchants and ATMs. However, should they make use of a merchant or an ATM, there will be cost involved.

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