NGO works to lighten load
Pensioners standing in long queues for their old-age grants in Mpumalanga are served lunch and offered free financial advice.
This commendable work is done by a non-governmental organisation, Women on the Move, together with police from Low's Creek, near Barberton.
On pension day the elderly people are served pap, soup and juice. They also get fresh vegetables to cook at home which the women hand out to them and other needy families.
Brenda Sithole, organiser of Women on the Move, said: "About three years ago I passed by the pay-point and saw hungry and thirsty old people queuing for their grants.
"The situation was saddening and we started cooking vegetables from our garden at the police station to serve the poor elderly people."
The project quickly spread into the villages and poor families now receive fresh vegetables from the organisation.
Together with the Low's Creek police, the women offer financial advice to the pensioners who are mostly illiterate.
Captain Lucky Sithole said: "We discourage them from buying on credit from vendors who sell goods at the pay-point.
"There was a woman who sold goods to these elders on credit and kept their identity documents as security
"She would only give back the IDs on payday and wait for the pensioners to get their money," he said.
"Once they had got their grant, she would take the money she was owed, possibly overcharging them. We have since warned her to stop it."
The police also discourage the selling of traditional beer to the pensioners because they would drink and get robbed before they went home.