Hundreds of Lentegeur pensioners were at their wits’ end last week, when the queue to collect their money snaked from the doors of a local grocery retailer to the nearby police station.
Cornelia Martheza, chairwoman of the Merrydale Community Forum, said a pensioner fainted while waiting in line to collect a South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant from a local Shoprite branch.
Seniors, 60 and older receive R1 890 per month, and those older than 75 years, get R1 910, without any bank charges or admin fees at certain retailers and banks.
Ms Martheza said Shoprite Lentegeur staff had been striking on Wednesday November 2 because they did not get paid extra for being on duty earlier to accommodate the number of pensioners on collection day.
She feared that the problem would continue for the rest of the week with scores of grant recipients queueing.
SASSA spokeswoman Shivani Wahab said they could not comment on any matter concerning Shoprite or any other organisation. She said SASSA had several flexible options for social grant clients.
“Social grants may be paid directly into a clients’ banking account, collected at any SA Post Officer branch or approved merchant,” said Ms Wahab.
Shoprite’s media team said they remained committed to dispensing these grants to assist the people in the communities in which they operate.
The supermarket chain, one of the largest dispensers of SASSA grants said they were sorry to hear about the frustration experienced when having to wait in long queues.
“Our operational teams are continuously working to improve the service, and to assist grant recipients as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“We believe that further staggering grant payout periods will create a more user-friendly payout process for recipients, as the old and disabled currently have to endure very long queues,” read their statement.
They regard the employer and employee relationship as an internal matter and said that they would deal with employees, who raise their concerns, fairly, respectfully and in compliance with the provisions of prevailing labour legislation.