Pensioners in South Africa Continue to Wait for Hours to Receive Their Grants

Pensioners still had to wait hours to collect their grants at some places in Cape Town, though on the whole the payments seemed to be going more smoothly. Last month, thousands of social grant beneficiaries did not receive their money on time due to a technical glitch with PostBank.

When GroundUp arrived at noon on Tuesday, about 80 people were waiting at the Gatesville Post Office to receive their pension.

Elizabeth Fredericks, 75, waited for five hours before receiving her grant. She arrived at 7:10am and did not leave until 12:30pm. At first she stood in line outside, then sat on a chair outside, and then finally was able to wait the last two hours inside.

Eventually she received the full pension amount, including the latest R10 increase.

Rifatah Price was in line with her 72-year-old husband, Mogamat, who could not speak because of a recent stroke. Price said her husband had not received his pension last month, and was now waiting for two months’ pension worth over R4,000. She was worried she would not receive the full amount, because she said a post office employee had told her if there was not enough cash she would have to come back again the next day to collect the balance.

“It’s pathetic,” she said. “It’s really pathetic.”

Her husband needs his grant money to pay for his medication, she said.

Many of the people waiting were angry with the post office’s employees.

But Portia Zokufia, the branch manager at Gatesville Post Office, said the problems were with Postbank, not with the post offices.

“PostBank doesn’t even pick up the phones,” she said. “They are the ones that are failing people.”

She said the post office did have sufficient money to pay all beneficiaries.

Other beneficiaries GroundUp talked to did not report difficulties receiving their money this month.

“My grant money was on time,” Nophakamisa Jacobs, 68, said. She had been waiting at the Gatesville Post Office for around two hours.

Pensioners at a Shoprite in Athlone also said they had not had problems. The line at Shoprite was short and seemed to be moving quickly.

Robert Thorne, 71, said that he had easily withdrawn his money from an ATM this morning.

Thandi Henkemen, Western Cape regional officer for Black Sash, said the organisation is seeing more problems in the Eastern Cape, where post offices are running out of cash.

SASSA and PostBank had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.

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