Pensioners: Dear Mr President, we want a 13th cheque

06 February 2019 - 09:58
By nivashi nair
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Image: South African Gov‏ via Twitter Sassa card social grants

Over 29,000 pensioners are calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce a living wage pension and 13th cheque in his state of the nation address on Thursday.

The Pietermaritzburg Pensioners' Forum said their all-female membership had signed a petition on the site to support the call for a 13th cheque that is the equivalent of double the monthly pension. Pensioners currently receive R1,700 a month.

"Apart from ensuring that children are fed and clothed, pensions keep many urban economic hubs going, also subsiding low wages and unemployment," the forum said in a statement.

"We expect to be told that the country cannot afford this. However, we would like to point out that much of this money would come back to government in various forms through Corporate Income Tax, VAT, improved education and health outcomes and lowered debt levels for millions of South Africans."

The forum of women pensioners said they had travelled to parliament and had spoken to MPs about their demands.

"We have engaged with government on multiple occasions, even travelled from Pietermaritzburg to Cape Town, to make a presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance last year to convey just how worried we are about our situation," said forum member Thoko Ngubane.

She said a 13th cheque in December would help absorb some of the pressures of extra expenses over the December and January period.

"This is when kids spend most of their time at home, meaning groceries get depleted quicker, and is also the start of the new year."

Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the state of the nation address at 7pm on Thursday.