“My children have not eaten since last night. To feed them, I must wait in the sun, with all these people. I have no choice”
Despite the urgent presidential plea for strict physical distancing, this was the stark reality faced by a Khayelitsha mother on Wednesday.
Her impossible dilemma was shared by hundreds of people – in close proximity, shoulder-to-shoulder – queueing in the baking heat for their monthly grants from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).
Thandi Pangani, 34, is a mother of two children, aged nine and five. She had been waiting for hours to receive child support grants of R440 for each child. The child support grant equates to approximately R14 per child per day.
Pangani said: “We are tired and hungry. There is nothing at home – nothing. My children have had no breakfast. They will have no lunch. I just need to wait here.”
Xoliswa Buda, 29, said she was in a similar situation, and her child was mentally disabled. Despite that, she had no choice but to join the hundreds alongside her.
Inside the supermarket store, no physical distancing was being practiced. Grant recipients were let in 50 at a time by marshals, and their grants were redeemed for essential supplies.
Hundreds of desperate Khayelitsha residents braved baking heat for hours to receive a variety of social security grants. The grants of April 2020 brought marginal increases.
Old age, disability and care dependency grants now pay R1 860.
War veterans and persons older than 75 receive R1 880.
Foster child grants pay R1 040.
Child support grants, and grants-in-aid, pay R440.