Home South African Bergville woman dies after waiting for old-age pension

Bergville woman dies after waiting for old-age pension

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She and other residents had arrived at the crack of dawn to be among the first in the line and had been waiting for hours with no food or water.

Durban – An elderly woman collapsed and died while waiting to collect her old-age pension on Wednesday in ­Bergville, near the Drakensberg foothills.

She was among hundreds of

community members who packed the small town’s CBD to collect their grants.

Residents said for the past few days, the town was packed with grant beneficiaries. Long queues that stretched for 2km were the order of the day.

The old woman collapsed and died near the taxi rank in the afternoon.

She and other residents had arrived at the crack of dawn to be among the first in the line and had been waiting for hours with no food or water.

The IFP caucus leader at the Okhahlamba Municipality, Mduduzi Buthelezi, said that the death could have been avoided.

“We understand that she was diabetic. She was with her grandchild. She complained that she was hungry and sent the child to go and buy food, then she collapsed and died.

“This is not the first time something like this has happened. Since the government ‘closed’ the pension pay points where communities are, people have been forced to go to town.

“There have been incidents of violence and armed robbery,” he said.

Buthelezi said that in Bergville, pension points were few and the infrastructure was overwhelmed on pension collection days.

“There are three banks, a post

office and four stores that service thousands of community members. To have a chance to draw money, people arrive early.

“Taxis are transporting the community from midnight so they can be the first to arrive outside the pay point.

“I left the town at about 7pm on Wednesday and there were still long queues,” he said.

DA councillor Michael Buthelezi said it was tragic that an elderly woman had died while waiting in the queue for a grant.

“She was there from the early hours without having food until late at about 6pm, that’s when she lost her life,” he said.

Okhahlamba mayor MG Ndlangisa said he was aware of the incident.

He said the town had faced a challenge these past few days as people disregarded the schedule set by the government to pay grants and flooded the CBD, creating congestion.

“There are young people who lied at road blocks, saying they were going to town for essentials, but instead went to the pay point when their grants were not even ready,” he said.

The Mercury