At last men aged 60 receive state pension

THE long wait for older males to access state social security grants was cut short yesterday when the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in Limpopo issued the first payments to male beneficiaries.

In the past older men had to wait until they turned 65.

The agency's provincial spokesperson, Kelemogile Moseki, announced yesterday that they would be issuing 4012 grants this month to male beneficiaries aged 60 for the first time.

Two of the men, Benson Vuma and James Lebea of the impoverished village of GaMaja Moshate, south of Polokwane, were noticeably on cloud nine on receiving their first monthly payment.

They each left the pension point at the local tribal offices with R1080 in their pocket.

Vuma, father of six children and three grandchildren, who retired from Iscor, said: "As age was catching up with me, the constant fear of dying before one could access the state grant was overwhelming. But that fear is no more."

His neighbour, Lebea, who used to work at a chemical factory in Modderfontein near Johannesburg, said he was getting impatient to access the state grant.

He said it would help pay for his household needs and the education and healthcare of his children.

Sassa acting regional executive manager Tsakeriwa Chauke said: "So far 24000 male beneficiaries aged 60 have been registered and will henceforth be receiving their old age grant.

"We hope to reach more with the help of all the stakeholders."