After seeing how long the queues were on the first day of the old age and disability grant payments at most pay points in Tembisa, some pensioners came prepared on the second day.
Florah Tutja (73) says that she made sure she came ready for the long queues at the Tembisa Plaza post office.
“I had soft porridge and some bread with tea. I know how long these queues can get but I am glad to see that it is moving quicker than it does in other months. I am also happy to see that they have put out chairs for us to sit while we wait.”
Tutja is living with diabetes and hypertension but says that life has been normal despite the lockdown restrictions.
“I have been staying indoors since the president made the announcement that we must not leave our homes. I only came out today to collect my grant. My grandchildren have also been complying because we all have to listen to the president,” she says. Her main reason for complying is because the disease is new.
Tutja adds: “We have had many diseases such as HIV and TB but this one (coronavirus) is new to us. I have never seen anything like it before so I will do as I am told by our leaders.”
Another grant recipient who came out to collect his disability grant at a supermarket in Tembisa Plaza is Samson Khoza (57). “I have been in the queue since morning. I am not sure of how many hours I have been here but it has been a while”.
According to him, he does not have anything to say about the coronavirus because it is something that he has no knowledge on. “What can I say? It is not like there is anything I can do about it. I don’t even know what it is in the first place.”
Despite not knowing about the disease, Khoza is complying with the lockdown restrictions. “I don’t understand why the restrictions are in place but I follow them. They were made by educated people so I have nothing else to do but to do as they say,” he adds.
The former truck driver says that since he had stroke, living with a disability and having to rely on a grant has affected him more than just financially.
Some were confused by the location where pensioners were expected to have been transported to. “I came here to withdraw cash because we heard that the pensioners and people living with disabilities were going to be ferried by buses to specific locations,” says Nyeleti Baloyi (27).
Baloyi has had to wait in the queue for hours because the pensioners were prioritised over everyone at a supermarket near the Swazi Inn market in Ivory Park.
“I just want to withdraw money so that I can buy groceries but the people who are managing the queue have been moving us to the back since I got here. I think they should allow us to go it as well because I didn’t know that the pensioners would also be here.”
According to social development minister, Lindiwe Zulu, the distribution of the social grants needs to be improved following complaints over long queues and some pay points running out of cash.
“We need to look at better ways and improve the situation. Some of the challenges that we faced on the first day included overcrowding and long queues, late arrival of cash in some areas, beneficiaries arrived too early and other Sassa recipients also came out,” says Zulu.
Zulu also noted that social distancing needed to be improved at pay points to minimise the risk of people contracting the Covid-19 pandemic. – Health-e News
For more information on Covid-19 in South Africa, you can call the toll-free line on 0800 029 999, or you can send a message that says “Hi” on WhatsApp to the number 060 012 3456. You can also visit the SA Coronavirus website.