Pensioner dies in Sassa line

2016-04-12 14:45

A Cape Town pensioner died while waiting in line at a Sassa service point in Kraaifontein last Wednesday morning.

Willem Jaars (63), and his wife, Magrieta, had just spent the night outside the Scottsdene Youth Centre in order to get a front row position in the hall the next morning, says his heartbroken sister, Sarie Davis, from Phoenix.
“The doors had just opened and they both scurried in to get a chair in the front.”
Minutes later he died in this very chair.
“He had just eaten a piece of bread and taken a sip of the coffee they had brought with them, before he slowly slumped down next to her.”
His wife called out to him in vain.
“White foam appeared around his mouth, but he was dead,” says Davis.

According to her, her brother was a first-time pension applicant.
“Everybody in the area visits this office to apply for government grants and the lines are unbelievably long. It is always jam-packed and often scores of people are sent home when the day comes to an end before they can reach the front of the line. There is not enough staff to help everybody.” Davis believes this is what prompted the elderly couple to spend the night outside the office.

He was declared dead when Kraaifontein police arrived at the Youth Centre.
“When I arrived there later that morning, the hall was still crowded. My brother’s body was carried to the adjacent kitchen where it was neatly covered with a sheet.
“According to his wife he made no complaints of pain or discomfort during the night. It came as such a shock to her and she is devastated.”

A post mortem was performed, of which the family is awaiting the results.

Ward councillor Grant Twigg was informed of the incident shortly afterwards.
“People come as early as possible to be helped and the problem persists from week to week.  Something will have to be done,” he said.
According to Shivani Wahab, spokesperson for Sassa in the Western Cape region this service point, which is linked to the Eerste River office, is opened once a week where approximately 200 clients are served.

“There is often a high influx of clients and in turn, a high demand for services at this point. All screening and applications for social grants are done in line with the Sassa standardised business processes, meaning a one day turnaround,” she said in a statement to TygerBurger on Monday.
“All clients who access Sassa contact points for services are assisted on the day and it is not necessary for any client to have to sleep over at any Sassa contact point in order to access services.”
“It is unfortunate that the client passed away at the service point last week and our condolences go out to the family of the deceased.”
According to the clients spouse, he was unwell during the course of the week.
“Clients who are unwell need not access a Sassa contact point for services. A home visit can be scheduled at the nearest contact point, where Sassa will ensure that the request for the home visit is honoured and the social grant application can be conducted at the client’s home.”

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