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Mayhem at Mitchells Plain Sassa pay points as many queue for hours

Grant beneficiaries, mostly the elderly and shoppers, were in long queues at stores like Shoprite and banks.

People queuing at pay out points in Mitchells Plain Town Centre on 30 March 2020 to collect their social grants. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – There was pandemonium in Mitchells Plain on Monday at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) pay points.

Thousands queued since early in the morning, but it appeared most outlets were not prepared.

Five people tested positive for COVID-19 in Mitchells Plain.

At Town Centre, queues were snaking between shops. Grant beneficiaries, mostly the elderly and shoppers, were in long queues at stores and banks.

In the tight spaces between crowds, the SANDF, law enforcement officers, and police members were maintaining order.

One elderly woman said she had been standing at a Shoprite queue that was about 200 metres since 8 am and she was furious.

“This doesn’t make sense, how can they put people like this? Ten people go inside before the other ten comes out, I’ve been standing here for hours,” she said.

She also blamed government for not acting sooner in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Whose to blame for coronavirus here in South Africa? It’s [President] Cyril Ramaphosa because he’s been bringing people over the border, that’s the problem here,” she said.

And while people waited to enter shops like Shoprite and Boxer in small groups, there was no social distancing as they moved closer to the door.

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus in South Africa, click on this live status report from the Department of Health.