Queues long, service slow but Eastern Cape residents still get their cash
Fears that social grant recipients would not receive their payouts were quashed when more than a million Eastern Cape recipients managed to access their state-sponsored cash from various outlets including ATMs and some merchants this weekend.
South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) provincial head Sakhumzi Yawa confirmed yesterday that 1.5 million of the 3.2 million social grant beneficiaries across the province had already accessed their grants.
Yawa said the agency was thrilled that no major hiccups were reported in connection with the payments so far.
Speculation that grants would not be paid this month came after the Constitutional Court declared the contract between Sassa and its grants payment implementing agency Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) illegal.
Last month, the contract between Sassa and CPS lapsed, threatening non-payment to more than 17 million beneficiaries across the country.
But in a last-minute bid to prevent this, the Constitutional Court decided to extend the CPS contract by another year.
“We are thrilled that everything went smoothly and that there were no serious challenges or hiccups reported in the grants payment process over the past weekend,” Yawa said.
When a reporter visited the Shoprite store at the Pier 14 Shopping Centre in North End just after 10am on Saturday, up to 50 people had been queuing for more than three hours to receive their grants.
Thandeka Mpumzi, 62, of Zwide, said she had been waiting since 7am.
“We are hungry and tired of waiting,” she said, adding that there was only one till open for people to collect their grant money. Because it was a Saturday, the situation was worse.
Asanda Makamya, 32, of Kwazakhele, said she had also been waiting since 7am to get her grant. “This is taking too long.”
Eunice Ntlokwana, 65, of Zwide, who arrived at Pier 14 just before 9am, said she was frustrated at having to wait.
A 78-year-old woman from Kwazakhele, who did not want to be named, said she had been waiting since just after 8am.
“We stand for a long time in long queues. We need chairs to sit on,” she said.
Shoprite at Greenaces had fewer than 10 people waiting to receive their grant money from a single till.
One beneficiary standing towards the back of the queue, who identified herself only as Nomhle, said she had been waiting for only a few minutes.
Countrywide, of the 17 million beneficiaries, 78% receive their payment through banks and participating merchants or chain stores, and 22% from paypoints.