A group of desperate residents from Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, spent the entire night outside the Pretoria North Post Office. They are the beneficiaries of the COVID-19 R350 social relief grant.
Some say they’ve been coming to the Post Office since last week but they have been constantly turned away without being paid and with no reasons given by staff.
The group slept outside the Post Office under a tree with no blankets. Some dozed off while sitting on beer crates.
They say they cannot have a bleak Christmas while their monies are locked up inside the Post Office. They include elderly women, men and unemployed youth.
Portia Nhlapo is one of them, “We are here because of these social grants. We do not get good service here. We have been the whole day some of them are sleeping here. Some we left our families at home without any food, we don’t have anything. That’s why we are here and we have decided to sleep here.”
They wanted to be the first in the queue after a few days of unsuccessful trips to the Post Office.
“I’m here because of the social grant. I want it so that I can support my family especially this Christmas we need something to eat. But now we are sleeping here because the service that we are getting here is very poor. So we ended up sleeping here so that tomorrow we will queue for the money while it is still early. But we don’t know if we will get the money or not because the service here is poor. Sometimes they are offline. But we are waiting, we will see.”
“I’m here to fetch my grant. There’s no one who assists me. I survive by collecting scrap metal for recycling. But now I told myself it’s Christmas that’s why I’m here to collect my grant so that I can buy food and be like other people.”
Post Office pokesperson, Johan Kruger, says they will attend to the problem.