An elderly woman has died while waiting in a queue at a Sassa pay point in Soweto on Monday morning.
Police spokesperson Cpt Mavela Masondo confirmed that the woman collapsed outside the Pimville post office on Modjadji Road. “We are not investigating the matter because the lady passed on from natural causes. She collapsed and the paramedics were called. They arrived and confirmed that it was as a result of natural causes.”
The South African Social Security Agency’s spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi confirmed the matter but said he could not provide further details as they were still processing information pertaining to what transpired.
Her death comes as thousands of elderly and disabled persons were urged by the department of social services to collect their grants early in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19 in SA. Other grants, including child support, will be collected from April 1.
At least 17-million beneficiaries in SA travelled and spent hours in queues for their payments. The government said it had taken the necessary measures to reduce congestion and ensure there were social distancing protocols at pay points. On Sunday, acting MEC for social development Panyaza Lesufi confirmed more than 700,000 elderly and disabled residents in Gauteng would receive social grants over the next two days.
Lesufi said 3,000 community patrollers dispatched by the department of community safety would be present at Sassa pay points while law enforcement agencies would enforce lockdown measures.
"We will make available 5,000 litres of hand sanitiser for the elderly and beneficiaries. For the office staff, we've ordered 30,000 pairs of gloves, so that the office staff can be in a position to perform their mandate in a safe environment, including 300 masks." Lesufi stressed the importance of safeguarding the elderly during this time.