Johannesburg - Several grandmothers affected by social services and Postbank non-payment have vowed to march to Minister Lindiwe Zulu’s and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s offices at the Union Buildings.
This follows technological glitches in the payment system that have affected more than 100 000 pensioners.
One of the disgruntled gogos is 69-year-old Orlando East grandmother, Ntombizodwa Mankosi, who told The Star that she is furious after not receiving her R1 800 pension money, which has put her at the receiving end of her stokvel creditors.
“I am prepared to toyi-toyi and march against President Cyril Ramaphosa and the minister of social services as I have not received my pension money till today. Right now I owe my neighbour R700, and she is furious that I have not paid her,” she told this masthead.
Mankosi said if they were not fragile, they would organise a march to the Union Buildings.
“You know we need to also show Ramaphosa and Lindiwe Zulu who we are and march against them. And you know what? We need to march to the Union Buildings and take our problems there. If we were not this old and fragile, we could use this march to highlight our problems and hopefully gain some form of assistance from Ramaphosa and the minister,” she said.
After the disastrous South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) payment failure, the DA said it was on a crusade to call for a debate of national importance.
Communications Minister Mondli Gungubele said on Thursday that the new payment switch meant money from failed transactions was erroneously deducted from beneficiaries’ accounts, affecting 600 000 people.
Zulu blamed Postbank and apologised to the pensioners, saying it was the fourth time in 12 months that the issue arose since the bank and the SA Post Office were separated.
The system failure is reported to have affected more than 100 000 grant recipients who, at the time of publication, were still not receiving part or the full amount of their grants.
DA spokesperson on social development, Bridget Masango, said the Postbank payment failure was the latest in a long line of failures to ensure recipients get their funds at the allotted times.
Masango said Social Development Minister Zulu’s attempt to solely lay the blame at the bank’s feet was disingenuous and ignored the countless months the elderly, young mothers, or disabled people had to queue in the wind and rain just to return home empty-handed.
“The issue of late or non-payment of grants is a clear violation of citizens’ rights to life, equality, dignity, food and social security. The minister has failed time and time again, and it is time she accounts for her lack of action,” she said.
“The intermittent system challenges were a result of a system upgrade the bank is introducing to provide better service,” read the statement.
The statement further highlighted that originally this affected approximately 600 000 beneficiaries, which translated to around 10% of the 5.3 million beneficiaries who are paid their social grants via Postbank’s Sassa Gold Cards monthly.
Black Sash regional manager Thandi Henkerman said Postbank has failed to ensure a proper plan on how many beneficiaries were affected by the technical glitch. Henkerman blamed the two ministers for failing pensioners.
Both ministers were at pains to issue their sincerest apologies to the affected beneficiaries. While stressing that Sassa and Postbank are not failing, “this makes their apologies hollow. It means nothing to a hungry, vulnerable, elderly person who has no money and no food to eat”, the organisation said.