This system sucks, says grant beneficiary on long Post Office queue

Post Office CEO Mark Barnes has visited a pay point at the Jabulani Mall in Soweto on Monday.

Post Office. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Some social grant beneficiaries queuing outside the Post Office to make withdrawals have complained about the long waiting period and no chairs or special treatment for the elderly.

Post Office CEO Mark Barnes has visited a pay point at the Jabulani Mall in Soweto on Monday.

Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu says the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) is on track to ensure that over 12 million grant recipients receive their money through the Post Office next month.

Frustrated social grant beneficiaries waited outside in a queue, some for over four hours.

One man said: “This system sucks, the grannies are going to fall down because of their high blood [pressure] and diabetes.”

A woman added: “There are no chairs.”

Another woman says she was there on Saturday and just before she was helped, they were told there was no more cash to withdraw.

“And [they said] they are closing, they left us outside on Saturday.”

Barnes has listened to their complaints and vowed to improve services.

“I’m sorry about that, I don’t know how that happened. But I’m here to make sure those kinds of things get fixed.”

Barnes has given social grant beneficiaries the undertaking that all logistical glitches with the distribution process involving Sassa grants will be fixed by 1 October.

From 1 October, beneficiaries will be queuing at Post Offices to withdraw their grants as Sassa's contract with Cash Paymaster Services expires.

The elderly were seen walking with canes and standing in the sun to enter the Post Office at the Jabulani Mall.

A woman is not happy with the new system.

“It was nice at the [previous] pay point, we had seats to sit down and they were faster than these people. We could’ve been home long ago.”

Barnes has admitted that this needs to be changed before October.

“Some of the things I’ve learnt today are we should differentiate between young capacitated and old [and] disabled people, there should be some pre-qualifiers and different queues.”

Some people queuing have proposed that a separate point be dedicated for the elderly.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)