The Pietermaritzburg Pensioners Forum protesting peacefully outside the KZN legislature yesterday.
DURBAN - A Pietermaritzburg pensioner said “there is no way she can survive” after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced a paltry R80 increase in the old age grant during his Budget speech yesterday.

Zanele Mbasa from the Pietermaritzburg Pensioners Forum was speaking outside the KZN legislature yesterday where a group of pensioners were protesting for a “13th cheque” and a stipend increase of R2500.

The pensioners travelled twice to Parliament to address their concerns.

They recently tried to hand over a petition with 30000 names calling for the R2500 increase and a 13th cheque.

In his maiden Budget speech yesterday, Mboweni said in the fight against poverty and inequality, the government had allocated R567billion for social grant payments. This year the grants would increase by R80 for old age, disability, war veterans and care dependency beneficiaries.

There will be a R40 increase in the foster care grant to R1000. The child support grant will increase to R420 in April and to R430 in October,” said Mboweni.

A displeased Mbasa said she had grandchildren who depended on her pension.

“Our children are not working since there are no jobs, my grandchildren have to have school materials, and the cost of living is very high now which is why we won't stop fighting,” Mbasa said.

Another pensioner Doreen Taylor said as a forum, they were going to write to Mboweni to request he reconsider his decision and “offer something that they will be able to survive with”.

She said as old people, they were at the “forefront of the apartheid era and voted for this current government”.

“By increasing our pension with just R80 shows that they are neglecting us and the role that we play in our communities,” said Taylor.

Treasury expects the number of social grant beneficiaries to reach 18.1million by the end of this year.

- THE MERCURY