SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) officials attributed the problem to technical glitches.
While officials have apologised, it was obvious Sassa had been ill-prepared for the processing of the beneficiaries on to a new system.
Under the system, beneficiaries old Cash Paymaster Services cards were replaced by new Post Office cards.
Recipients were left waiting for many hours for nothing.
It was heartbreaking to witness how some of society’s most vulnerable, the old and the poor, had to return home without being paid.
Some had arrived in wheelchairs. Many used their last money to get to pay points - others who had no money had no choice but to walk.
The glitches were subsequently overcome, but for thousands of people who expected to be paid, it meant not having money for food.
No self-respecting country does this to its own people and no amount of explaining will undo what has happened.
WE HOPE lessons have been learnt and the officials will ensure a repeat is avoided. This week’s chaotic situation had its genesis in court confrontations that had dragged on for ages.
This is a matter that must be placed at the door of then social development minister Bathabile Dlamini, who is still a cabinet member.
She left current Minister Susan Shabangu a poisoned chalice.
Shabangu has her work cut out to regain the confidence of our people. President Cyril Ramaphosa was right to remove Dlamini from that position during his cabinet reshuffle earlier this year, but it is not enough.
We urge the president to rethink Dlamini’s position as minister of women.
It was under her watch as political head of social development that Sassa became saddled with the kind of mess which also affected poor and old women. Her being minister of women means nothing for women.
That said, Sassa is one of those government departments where mediocrity, and many times downright laziness, have become the order of the day. A number of public servants must be educated that the taxpayers of this country pay their salaries, and their job is to serve.