Government officials have sent their condolences and will be visiting the families of two people who died in social grant queues on Monday.The two pensioners died in queues on the first day of social grant payments on Monday under the 21-day lockdown in Pimville, Soweto, and Hammarsdale in KwaZulu-Natal, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said on Monday.A third pensioner reportedly died in Jakes Gerwel Drive in Cape Town after returning from a nearby Athlone mall.
In KZN, the deceased was Thembisile Mavis Njapa, a 63-year-old pensioner who collapsed and died while waiting to collect her social grant at the Hammarsdale post office, west of Durban.
"Officials at the pay point assisted her by placing her in a wheelchair and moved her to a holding area while an ambulance was being summoned. But she was declared dead by paramedics on their arrival," KZN MEC for Social Development Nonhlanhla Khoza said on Tuesday.
She said the department regretted the loss of life.
"This incident occurred on the first day of pension payouts to the elderly and people with disabilities. It's a very sad incident."
No need to rush to get pension money
The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) resolved to make social grant payments to the elderly and people with disabilities earlier than usual in a bid to control the spread of Covid-19.
Khoza reassured recipients that there was no need for people to rush to get their pension money.
"There is no need for all of them to rush to banks, retailers or cash points to collect their grants as payments will remain in their accounts. A grant beneficiary can collect at any suitable time to avoid jostling in long queues."
She said safety should be a priority.
"We want to see our communities safe from contracting Covid-19, therefore it's important to stick to the regulations put in place by President Cyril Ramaphosa," Khoza said.
Khoza called on grant beneficiaries to follow the advice of the Department of Social Development and Sassa as the payment of grants continues.
She said a team of social workers would be in contact with Njapa's family.
And in Gauteng, acting social development MEC Panyaza Lesufi will visit the family of the late Ellen Mbhele who died in a payout queue.
"The vulnerable were identified as among those needing urgent attention during the lockdown and the department has been working around the clock with municipalities, NGOs and donors to make temporary shelter for the homeless and to provide food relief," Lesufi said on Tuesday.