South Africa: Social Grant Payouts Go Smoothly in Tembisa, but Physical Distancing Still a Challenge

Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile is mostly satisfied with the rollout of social grant payouts in Tembisa, but still has concerns about the lack of physical distancing in queues.

Maile visited a post office at Tembisa Plaza on Monday morning to see how it was operating.

With the country currently under a 21-day lockdown, the government has allowed for the early payment of social grants for the elderly and people with disabilities.

The lockdown, which took effect on Thursday, is a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

"The elderly are being assisted with dignity and the respect they deserve. We are very happy with the manner in which the centre's management, Sassa [the South African Social Services Agency] officials and post office officials are treating our elders.

"They have brought chairs for the elderly, made sure they are sanitised and given masks and gloves," said Maile.

He confronted the plaza's manager, Tlou Mafifi, to complain people were on top of one another in some of the queues.

"They have assured us that they are alive to the issues and have brought in their own security. It's being reinforced by the Ekurhuleni Metro Police [Department] and from time to time they are calling on people to practice social distancing," said Maile.

Some of the elderly, however, said they wished the grant collection system would continue separating senior citizens from younger beneficiaries. They also complained about waiting too long in queues.

Maile said the current circumstances were not easy, but the government was doing its best.

"It's because they are forced by circumstances and I want to believe that the majority of our people understand the gravity of the situation. But there are realities of shopping and today is the reality of the collection of their grants."


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