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R350 grant beneficiaries turned away at city post office

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Social Relief of Distress grant beneficiaries clashed with SA Post Office employees in Kimberley on Tuesday after they were turned away as only 100 people could be paid.

Social Relief of Distress grant beneficiaries were turned away at the Kimberley post office on Tuesday as they were informed that only 100 people would be paid. Picture: Soraya Crowie

FURIOUS Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant beneficiaries clashed with SA Post Office employees in Kimberley on Tuesday after they were turned away.

The police were dispatched to the Kimberley post office to monitor the situation after the angry grant beneficiaries tried to storm the building after being informed that only 100 people would be able to receive their money.

They said they had been queueing at the post office for many hours, since early in the morning, only to be told later in the day that there was no more money.

“We have been standing in line since the early hours of the morning. There are some of us who had to wake up at four or five o’clock in the morning in order to be part of the first people to be assisted. The post office also indicated that we should only make our way to the post office once we have received an SMS informing us that the grant is available to be collected. However, if they are only paying 100 people daily, why are they sending SMSes to so many beneficiaries informing them to collect their money?” they asked.

Others said that this was not the first time that they had been turned away empty-handed.

“Some of us were told that there was no money to pay us when we were at the post office last week. I then returned home and decided to come this week. Now it is again the same story. When will this story end as more than 100 beneficiaries queue outside the post office each day,” said one grant beneficiary.

Others feared that they might forfeit their grant payments.

“The South African Social Security Agency sent out statements through media and other platforms saying that beneficiaries who applied during the first round of applications only have until the end of November to collect their unclaimed money. Those who have not claimed that money will automatically lose those funds by the end of this month. There are some of us who must still receive two outstanding payments. That is a lot of unclaimed money that we need. We have very limited time to claim our money and how will we get our money when only 100 people are assisted each day,” they said.

“The employees who work with the payouts want to pocket the money, then claim that beneficiaries never showed up to claim their money. There is a lot of corruption with the payments of this money,” they added.

A spokesperson for the post office, Johan Kruger, confirmed that only 100 recipients can be paid each day due to “limitations” of the network.

“The main post office in Kimberley can pay out a maximum of 100 people a day because of the limitations of the network, as the transactions take a certain amount of time. We are also limited in terms of the number of people we can accommodate because we have to comply with Covid-19 requirements,” said Kruger.

He assured that no beneficiary would forfeit their payment.

“No beneficiaries will lose their money. The grant remains in their accounts until they have collected it. Beneficiaries who have applied during the new round of payments, from July 2021, can also collect their grant from a Pick n Pay or Boxer supermarket. They will need their identity documents and cellphone when they collect their grants from these merchants,” Kruger added.

He urged beneficiaries to only head to the post office once they have received a message stating that their grant should be collected.

“We find that many beneficiaries go to the post office to check whether their grant has been paid in. This takes up transaction time. Beneficiaries must remember that they will receive an SMS from the South African Social Security Agency when their money has been paid in. if they go to the post office before they have received the SMS, they are likely to find that no money has been paid in yet,” Kruger said.

The police were called in after the city post office only paid 100 Social Relief of Distress grant recipients while many others had to be turned away after waiting in queues since early on Tuesday morning. Pictures: Soraya Crowie
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