Nervous Durban pensioners come out in droves to collect their grants

Pensioner Beauty Bungane receives roses from Checkers store manager Justin Naicker as she waits for her pension.
Pensioner Beauty Bungane receives roses from Checkers store manager Justin Naicker as she waits for her pension.
Image: Suthentira Govender

Durban pensioner Beauty Bungane “forced” herself to collect her social grant on Monday because she had no food to feed her family.

Sixty-five-year-old Bungane is among thousands of Durban pensioners who braved the potential health risks they face from the deadly Covid-19 virus to collect their social grants and buy groceries.

The government allocated Monday and Tuesday for the payment of social grants in the midst of the 21-day lockdown.

Bungane - who supports three family members with her pension - was pleasantly surprised when she received a bunch of roses from Checkers, Windermere Centre store manager Justin Naicker for her “support”.

The store is a Sassa payout point and ensured that social distancing and strict hygiene  practices were in place.

“We want to show our appreciation to our pensioners. It's a difficult time for everybody and to bring some cheer is great,” said Naicker. 

“We will continue until we run out of roses,” he said.

Bungane said while she did not have any health problems, she was still worried about being out of her home.

“I'm very worried and scared. I will respect what government wants from us as South Africans,” she said.

Scores of pensioners sat patiently awaiting their turn.

The social distancing requirement of one metre apart was clearly demarcated with yellow tape on the floor.

Another pensioner, who refused to be identified, said she was highly “stressed”.

“This is the first time I have come out since the lockdown, I am very stressed about it. I have received my pension and now I will do my groceries and go straight home,” she said.

At The Atrium in Overport, a line snaked outside the shopping centre as people waited to collect their grants, while others were there to buy groceries.

No social distancing was practised.

Pensioners waited to access their pension at Musgrave Centre's Pick n Pay, a Sassa payout point.
Pensioners waited to access their pension at Musgrave Centre's Pick n Pay, a Sassa payout point.
Image: Suthentira Govender

A security guard posted at the entrance asked Sassa recipients to produce their cards to allow them access to the payout point at Checkers.

Eighty-five-year-old Ahmed Shaik and his 67-year-old brother Ebrahim Mia, queued in the heat to collect their pensions.

“We are worried about being out but we don't have much of a choice.

“We didn't have the money to buy food. We had to wait until today to get our pensions before we buy groceries. We just have to take care.”

At Pick n Pay in Musgrave Centre, another Sassa paypoint, scores turned up on Monday morning.

Charity Shangase, 60, from Mayville was one of the first people in the queue.

“Everything went smoothly for me. I am diabetic so I was very very worried about coming out. But we had chairs and they were placed far apart so I felt a bit better.”

Shangase managed to buy a few essential groceries but will have to return because she was unable to carry all her groceries home.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.