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Grant chaos in city


“This new payout system at the post office is much slower than that of CPS. The old manner of payments were much better than this new one."

NO CHOICE: Lettie Manjane, 90, waited in the queue at the Kimberley Post Office for several hours without a chair or toilet facilities when she tried to collect her old age grant yesterday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

HUNDREDS of angry social grant beneficiaries in Kimberley said that they want to return to the old method of receiving their grants through CPS after the SA Post Office apparently failed to make full payments to some beneficiaries yesterday.

Beneficiaries filled the Kimberley Post Office yesterday and waited in long queues to receive their grants.

They said that the payout process was going at snail’s pace as they waited in the long lines.

“We have been lining up since the early hours of the morning. Some people headed to the post office before it even opened in order to be first in line. The majority of beneficiaries are elderly and had to wait for hours to be assisted without even being provided with chairs.

“There are also no toilets for the people to use as the post office staff said the toilets were not for public use. We had to go to the city hall to make use of the toilets and some people lost their place in line because of that.

“It is very sad that old and frail people are now being treated like this,” some beneficiaries complained.

One beneficiary, Sarah de Wee, said that she had to return home empty handed after her card was declined.

“I went to a First National Bank (FNB) ATM and tried to withdraw money but no money came out. I tried again and the same thing happened. I then came to the post office and was told that there seems to be a technical problem with the card as it showed there was money in the card. I was then referred back to Sassa to try and solve the matter,” said De Wee.

“This is truly frustrating as I had waited in line for hours to be assisted only to be told that I cannot get any money. I do not understand why this problem occurred as the money was paid in by Sassa but I cannot withdraw the money.”

Another beneficiary said that he was paid only half of his grant.

“I had to receive R1 600, however, I was only paid R800. When I asked why I only received half the money, I was told that I had to save some money. How come they are telling us to save when Sassa told us that saving the money would indicate that you are not in dire need of a grant,” he said.

A 90-year-old beneficiary, Lettie Manjane, said that she had no other choice but to put up with the long queues.

“I made sure to come to the post office early but the line is moving very slowly. This waiting is frustrating as there are only two people assisting us. It was better to get paid by CPS as there were more people assisting us. We have to, however, wait patiently as we are dependent on this money,” Manjane said.

Many other beneficiaries shared the same sentiments.

“This new payout system at the post office is much slower than that of CPS. The old manner of payments were much better than this new one.

“We experienced many problems and neither the post office nor Sassa are able to shed light on the problems. We are all left in the dark,” they said.

Sassa provincial spokesperson, Inno Khunou, said that problems were not only experienced in Kimberley.

“The South African Social Security Agency was inundated with enquiries nationally, regarding beneficiaries that have not been paid their grants. Sassa is aware of the technical glitch where some beneficiaries can see their monies are loaded onto their new cards, but they can not access the money.

“We apologise for the inconvenience suffered by our beneficiaries and wish to advise them to go to any commercial bank ATM with their new Sassa cards and withdraw their grant there using their PIN numbers, or they can even go and swipe at merchants like Pick * Pay, Boxer, Spar and Shoprite.

“By yesterday afternoon, some of the problems had been resolved. However, beneficiaries are requested not to try and draw the full grant amount all at once, but will be afforded unlimited free swipes at shop tills and three cash withdrawals at selected stores.

“Those who forgot their PIN numbers can reset it once at the post office and have unlimited PIN resets at a Sassa office.

“Sassa and Sapo wish to assure their beneficiaries that they are working full steam to resolve the technical challenge and will make sure each beneficiary is paid once the glitch is resolved,” said Khunou.

Meanwhile, beneficiaries in Galeshewe had to return home after the post office was closed following a burglary.

It is unclear whether the burglary occurred over the weekend or in the early hours of yesterday morning.

It was stated that employees at the post office apparently discovered that money had been stolen after they reported for duty yesterday.

Galeshewe police spokesperson, Sergeant Majang Skalkie, said that no one had been arrested in connection with the incident.

“Galeshewe police are investigating a burglary after an undisclosed amount of money was stolen from the local post office. No arrests have been made thus far. Police investigations contine,” said Skalkie.