WATCH | Corona chaos at Eastern Cape social grant paypoints

Pensioners jostle in endless queues to collect social grants with no space to observe Covid-19 social distancing protocols.

Paypoints in Mthatha and Flagstaff were overwhelmed on Monday as the elderly and disabled people queued to collect their social grant payments.

The sheer number of people made observing social distancing precautions impossible, although many seemed oblivious to to the Covid-19 pandemic, even shaking hands.

OR Tambo mayor Thokozile Sokhanyile visited the Flagstaff stations and said was “shocked and disappointed” by what she had encountered.

“This is chaos. I have never seen something like this,” said Sokhanyile.

In Mthatha, one queue snaked for almost a kilometre around the Botha Sigcau government building in Leeds Roads, down Durham Street and right into Sutherland Road.

To address the issue, authorities turned Mthatha Town Hall  into a makeshift pay point, easing the long queues.

“It is chaos in Flagstaff. We were to use two pay points — the post office and the Flagstaff clubhouse. But the clubhouse was not approved so we ended up having only one pay point — the post office. In Flagstaff there were only two cashiers  paying out the grants. The post office also ran out of cash,” said Sokhanyile.

Qaqambile Mandela, 73 and his wife Nothusile Mandela, 69, from Qunu said they had been queuing since 5am but by 9am they were still nowhere near the front or receiving their grants.

“We have never seen such chaos. All this is confusing us and making us scared,” said Qaqambile.

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