Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
Single mothers, destitute children and the elderly have been compelled to queue overnight for places before morning.
Surprisingly those who would have arrived early in the morning are reportedly told to go home and come back the following day.
Though they used to receive their grants from the ATMs recipients were told to reapply for new cards.
The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has called for recipients to re-register to root out fraud and corruption in a process that is expected to run for the next six months.
But this is coming at a huge cost to beneficiaries from rural villages, who have to walk long distances to Sassa offices.
Gogo Linah Letsoalo, who is about 90-years-old, has to wake up at 3am to join the long evening queue in Mankweng to reapply for the new Sassa cards.
She had received her grant last week but was afraid she would be forced to go without her pension payout next month if she did not reapply.
"I'm old and cannot afford to be treated this way," she complained. "But because I want the money I am forced to comply."
Another victim, Patricia Malepe of Moroke village outside Burgersfort, said it was a nightmare queuing at the Sassa offices.
Limpopo Sassa spokesman Norman Kutama said elderly people were not supposed to even visit their offices.
"We have made it clear that persons over 75, and those who are sick and frail, should not panic seeing that we have made arrangements to visit them in their homes," Kutama said. -firstname.lastname@example.org