The Callous Treatment of Grant Recipients at Mdantsane Post Office to be Reported to Public Protector

ActionSA has learned of how scores of sickly and elderly grant recipients have been repeatedly and unfairly turned away from the Mdantsane branch of the South African Post Office.

As such ActionSA will formally lodge a complaint against the South African Post Office to the Public Protector for the unethical and insensitive ill-treatment of social grant recipients, who happen to be at its mercy, if this situation continues.

The Public Protector is empowered to investigate this matter in terms of The Public Protector section6(5):

“In addition to the powers referred to in subsection (4), the Public Protector shall on his or her own initiative or on receipt of a complaint be competent to investigate any alleged-

(a) maladministration in connection with the affairs of any institution in which the State is the majority or controlling shareholder or of any public entity as defined in section 1 of the Public Finance Management.”

Social grants are, in most cases, the only source of income for the indigent citizens in our communities. We will protect their right to be paid social grants timeously and in a dignified manner.

Days before the Easter long weekend many social grant recipients from Mdantsane and surrounding villages were turned away and told to return after the long weekend.

Grant recipients travel from far afield at significant cost and personal inconvenience to collect their grants at this post office and such instances compound their dependency on these grants. Many risk their lives by embarking on pre-dawn long walks to the Post Office so that they can secure a spot in the queue ahead of others. They do so because experience has taught them that being ahead in the queue reduces the risk of being turned away and returning home empty-handed to households that are in desperate and collective need of these social grants.

Yesterday on the 11th of April these elderly grant recipients decided that had had enough and could no longer afford these senseless back and forth the trips. They refused to leave the Mdantsane post office until plans were made to remedy this appalling lack of “Batho Pele”. The pressure from these desperate grant recipients and from civil organisations led to the processing of social grant payments ‘miraculously’ resuming just after 15h00.

This despite being told that there was no money on the premises for this purpose. This simply shows that where there is a will there is a way and unfortunately with this ANC-led administration there is all too often no will to provide dignified support to grant recipients.

This is clear evidence of the ineptitude and uncaring attitude of those tasked with the disbursements of social grants at this Post Office. They cannot be allowed to decide when they would like to serve the people of the community or not. The payment of social grants is not done at their discretion, it’s their responsibility to administer the payments on behalf of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). This crass display of lack of empathy is typical from beneficiaries of cadre deployment in all state-owned entities.