'Dead man' seeking disability grant

2015-09-23 10:04

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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

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