The amount of expired gold cards is likely to escalate. The statistics are about to enter millions. “Post office is crumbling under the pressure,” says social grant activists even though currently the number has just entered the 6 figure number. It is quite alarming as in the upcoming months the number of expired gold cards will become 10 times more, indicating a much larger influx than what is today.
The Black Sash is one of the most upfront organizations in diverting the attention of the officials and public towards the possible chaos to occur in the future. The large influx has created managerial issues at many post offices around the country. Although the post office claims that the number of beneficiaries they have to deal with is not extraordinary in numbers. SASSA seems to be silent on the problems faced by the beneficiaries because of the long queues.
“Post Office Is Crumbling Under The Pressure,” Says Social Grant
Currently, the Cape Town and Athlone post offices are reposted to be the ones with long queues. Despite connecting the 59.39 million South Africans, post offices have the additional burden of providing services to SASSA beneficiaries. The Postbank has put post offices all around the country under pressure by sending the new SASSA gold cards and asking the beneficiaries to collect the new ones from their closer SAPO branch if they have expired in March.
The official announcement posted on the official SASSA account clearly stated that only those beneficiaries are required to get new ones who have gold cards with an expiry date of March. But because of fake news regarding the discontinuation of the SASSA cards in April led to a greater mess. People who have expiry dates of later months are also going to post offices to get new ones.
The SASSA and SAPO officials have clearly mentioned that only those beneficiaries who have cards expiring in March can show up at any branch of SAPO to get a new gold card from 13 March onwards. This announcement has led to a greater load on SAPO employees all around South Africa. The number of cards that have expired in March is more than 175000. In contrast to this, there are only 626 post offices around the country.
Out of these few many don’t provide SASSA gold card exchange services. At the Cape Town branch, I came across a few beneficiaries who had been waiting in queues for hours but had to go home without their new cards. Things are likely to get worse as there are 8600000 cards about to expire in April, 1.8 million in May, and 2.8 million in June. The number of post offices providing card exchange services is not sufficient enough to deal with this massive load.
“Post office is crumbling under the pressure”, says social grant. Bongani Diako, the Postbank spokesperson says that the long queues are not unusual, especially during peak periods. If you have to collect an old age or disability grant then visit the SAPO branch on Monday/Tuesday and for the SASSA gold card or any other grant you can visit from Wednesday to Saturday. Make sure to take your water bottle and wear a cap to deal with the heat while being in the queues.