Durban - Despite a clear announcement by the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) that Monday was reserved for pensioners and the disabled to collect grants, child support grant recipients still arrived at some pay points and lengthened the queues.
Child support grants will be paid on Tuesday.
This was according to Sassa provincial spokesperson Sandy Godlwana, who said that aside from delays at a few points, pension payouts generally went well across the province on Monday.
She said delays at certain pay points on Monday morning were due to some staff arriving late.
“In some areas there was a lack of management of social distancing, but managers were deployed to ensure compliance,” she said.
Busisiwe Xaba, 72, of Dassenhoek, said she was proud of how their local taxi association had planned for and handled travel matters yesterday.
A separate queue was created at their taxi rank in Mpola for pensioners to board taxis.
“They adhered to the seven-people rule, and as soon as we were ready to leave the rank, the driver sprayed hand sanitiser for all of us,” she said.
Xaba lives with her husband and grandchild and they depend on their pensions.
“We have no other source of income. Last month’s groceries are almost finished. I won’t be buying anything today (Monday) because I’m too tired now from the travelling and standing in line. I’ll come back tomorrow for groceries,” she said.
Once the pensioners were let into the back gate at the Pick * Pay at Pinecrest Mall in Pinetown, they were seated in the loading zone at the back.
Here pensioners were led 10 at a time into the store, where there was red tape at the tills to keep the queuing shoppers a metre apart.
In the queue outside, guards ensured that people were kept apart and that hands were regularly sanitised.
Pensioner Dombi Kubheka, 75, of KwaDabeka, said she left home at 7am.
“There were plenty of taxis picking up people in KwaDabeka, but the one I was in had a full load of passengers including an extra single seat next to the driver,” she said.
Kubheka said that although the driver had sanitiser visible, passengers used their own.
“There were some passengers wearing masks, like me. Even here at the mall there are people wearing masks, which is a good thing,” she said. Kubheka said she left the Pick * Pay at 11am after doing some shopping.
“It ran smoothly. Even though the queue was long, it was well managed and shopping went quickly inside,” she said.
Inside Pinecrest Mall, there were queues outside Clicks and Pick * Pay.
The main doors leading into the mall were closed in the morning. Guards said they had already reached the cap for the number of people allowed inside, and people would be let in as other customers left the mall.
At the KwaDakuza Post Office the number of pensioners present, more than 500, was more than had been anticipated, said Mbulelo Baloyi, the spokesperson for social cluster chairperson, Public Works MEC Peggy Nkonyeni. She had visited the post office during pension payouts.
Baloyi said beneficiaries had come to the post office, leaving the pay points in their areas to be closer to supermarkets.
Those who were not served yesterday would possibly be given a queue number to return today.
“The municipality provided sandwiches and water for pensioners waiting in the queue,” he said.
Meanwhile, Godlwana said a pensioner collapsed and died while waiting in the queue at the Hammarsdale post office yesterday morning.
The woman was declared dead when an ambulance arrived.