bonanza for pensioner

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

An elderly Limpopo man could not believe his eyes when officials of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), accompanied by representatives from President Thabo Mbeki's office, presented him with a cheque for R25000.

This was part of the arrears owed to him after he failed at several attempts to qualify for a government pension grant.

Thule Lucas Maphopha, 69, of Makgane village in Sekhukhune, had applied for the grant but his application was declined.

His "sin" was that he had the same ID number as another person in Eastern Cape. The Eastern Cape man had allegedly obtained an ID fraudulently and applied for a pension grant.

The man's application was approved and he received the grant for four months until the mistake was uncovered. The grant was immediately cancelled.

Samson Phakwago, a ministerial liaison officer in Mbeki's office, said the president was made aware of Maphopha's predicament during a visit to the area in April.

Phakwago said they immediately took steps to solve Maphopha's problem so that he could get his grant.

He said they approached Sassa to find out what the problem was.

"It was discovered that Maphopha shared an ID number with another person in the Eastern Cape. We decided to speedily resolve the problem," Phakwago said.

He said they also made sure that Sassa paid Maphopha the money he was entitled to from when he first applied for the grant.

"That is why Maphopha can now smile from ear to ear.

"This is the result of our hard work in ensuring that he enjoys life like other people of his age."

Phakwago said they were grateful to the Sassa officials who cooperated with them during the process of rectifying the mistakes that denied Maphopha his pension grant.

"The Sassa officials were really helpful and made sure the issue was speedily resolved," Phakwago said.

Maphopha secured himself a cheque for R25070, money that will come in handy for the pensioner.