Thousands of Pensioners Face Hardship as Sassa Grant Payouts Are Delayed.Thousands of elderly pensioners are facing severe hardships as their monthly Sassa grants remain unpaid due to technical challenges, leaving them without essential resources such as food and money. This distressing situation has persisted for several days, with many elderly individuals enduring the frustration of multiple failed attempts to collect their pensions.
The Technical Challenge and Its Consequences
A technical issue arose on Tuesday, affecting the distribution of Sassa grants, which persisted into Wednesday. While the problem has since been resolved, a substantial backlog remains, preventing numerous elderly citizens from accessing their much-needed pensions. Former Cape Town deputy mayor, Gawa Samuels, expressed her dismay, having witnessed the plight of pensioners at the Kuilsrivier Post Office. She revealed that these pensioners, who rely heavily on these grants, have not yet received their payments despite daily visits to the Post Office. Samuels explained that Sassa allocates a specific daily payout limit, resulting in pensioners being turned away and asked to return the following day, only to face the same discouraging outcome.
Dire Circumstances for Vulnerable Pensioners
For many of these pensioners, this delay is more than an inconvenience; it’s a matter of survival. With no funds and no food at home, their desperation grows with each passing day. Samuels emphasized that this crisis has persisted for three days, leaving many elderly citizens without the basic necessities of life.
Challenges with Alternative Payment Options
As an alternative to Post Offices, pensioners attempted to collect their grants from Shoprite stores, but the extensive queues made it uncertain whether they would receive their funds before the store’s closure. The situation was similar at the Blue Downs Shoprite.
One Pensioner Struggle
One pensioner, Aleweya Abarder, aged 80, shared her challenging experience. Despite queuing at various ATMs, including those at Kenilworth Centre, she was repeatedly told that no funds were available in her Sassa account. While more than 1,000 pensioners faced similar issues at ATMs, Checkers, and Pick ‘n Pay, Abarder was fortunate to have her payout processed with the assistance of the Spar ATM manager at Kenilworth Centre. It was evident that the funds were available on her card, but the ATMs were failing to register this.
A Call for Urgent Action
Samuels highlighted the fortunate situation of those who have family members to assist during this crisis but expressed concern for those who don’t have such support networks. She called for urgent intervention to alleviate the suffering of these vulnerable pensioners.
Postbank Response and Resolution
Dr. Bongani Diako, a Postbank spokesman, indicated that the grant payment system had been stable since restoration but acknowledged the existence of a backlog in processing fund reversals into beneficiary accounts. This backlog primarily affected those who encountered transaction timeouts during Tuesday and early Wednesday, particularly old age and disability grant recipients. Diako reassured that the backlog resolution process had commenced and urged affected beneficiaries to wait until Friday to access their funds, assuring them that account corrections would be up to date by then.
This situation underscores the critical need for efficient and reliable systems to ensure the timely disbursement of essential grants to vulnerable populations. Immediate action is imperative to alleviate the suffering of thousands of pensioners who have endured days of uncertainty and deprivation due to these technical challenges.
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