Grateful and anxious: mixed emotions at Sassa paypoints amid 'glitches'

05 May 2020 - 11:42
By Nonkululeko Njilo and Kgaugelo Masweneng
Luziwe Nkomo and Matilda Modibedi beamed with joy and gratitude after receiving their pension grants at Randburg Square on Tuesday.
Image: Kgaugelo Masweneng/ TimesLIVE Luziwe Nkomo and Matilda Modibedi beamed with joy and gratitude after receiving their pension grants at Randburg Square on Tuesday.

The first day of the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) pension grant payments was met with mixed emotions as some recipients received double payouts while others left empty-handed following a technical glitch in several parts of the country.  

Sassa was expected to pay out grants for the elderly and those with disabilities on Monday, as per the new government multibillion-rand Covid-19 fund which states other beneficiaries will now receive their grants on the sixth of every month.

Gladys Mpanza of Azalea township in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal was among the scores of people who returned home without cash after waiting in long queues on Monday. 

She described the day as emotionally draining.

“It was a long wait for nothing. I woke up a 5am for a bus because I knew the lines were going to be long.

“I am disappointed. I arrived at the Shoprite teller only to find there was no money in my card. I was shocked because some people were excited when they received more money,” said Mpanza.    

Recipients in Johannesburg beamed with excitement after receiving their usual payouts with an additional R250.   

Luziwe Nkomo, 62, strolled through Randburg Square in Gauteng looking to buy essential goods after receiving her social grant.

“I can now buy the young ones some warm clothes. We’re so happy for the extra money, it means a lot. It’s good we were considered during these tough times.

“Who’d give us the money for free? We can’t complain. Lockdown is not fun, but what can we do?” Nkomo said. 

Matilda Modibedi, 53, said she received the disability grant for her child, as usual.

“I look after three people with my pension. Things are not good, but what can we do? I’m hoping we survive because under lockdown we buy a lot of groceries and spend on many things as the children are home,” Modibedi said.

Like many other recipients who did not receive their payouts, Mpanza said she could not get an explanation about the lack of money and was told to "try again tomorrow".  

“It’s not that easy. Some of us live far away and had to borrow money to travel to town.

“I am scared that if I do go back, I might still not get it. I will have to go back home with nothing. I will wait to hear from my neighbours who are going to town,” she said.

Sassa spokesperson Sandy Godlwana said some payments which were meant to be paid on Monday would be delayed “due to a system glitch”.

Godlwana said Sassa identified and resolved the glitch, but the implication was that funds would only be released at 3pm on Monday. 

This meant the money could only be drawn on Tuesday.