By Mswazie Dube
The usually bustling Vanderbijlpark Post Office resembled a deserted institution today after COVID 19 swept through the Sassa money collection point. The Post Office closed their doors on Monday afternoon after an employee tested positive for COVID 19.
A notice hanging on the glass door of the post office says business will resume on 23 July after the whole building gets sanitised as per lockdown regulations.
Vaal Observer reported extensively this week about how recipients of the Sassa grants were not keeping social distance. The Vaal’s biggest Digital Newspaper even noted how others were not even putting on masks. Apart from squashing against each other, this paper also identified some people in the queue who had their masks pulled to their chins exposing their noses and mouths.
A security officer at the Post office told Vaal Observer last Friday that they were tired of enforcing social distance. He said even the police have thrown their hands in the air. President Cyril Ramaphosa decreed recently that failure to observe lockdown rules now constitutes a criminal offence.
Recipients queuing for child grants and Covid 19 relief money for the unemployed said they were more concerned about collecting their money than maintaining social distance.
Hundreds of grants recipients interacted with employees of Post Office daily raising fears that thousands of infected Vaal residents might be on the loose unknowingly infecting their families and members of the public.
Dozens of Sassa recipients were stranded at the Post office today after finding it closed. The majority said they didn’t have money for taxi fares back home as they hoped to collect their grants.
To make matters worse Vereeniging Post Office was also closed today after running out of money yesterday to pay the much needed grants to deserving recipients.
A Loch Vaal resident, Avodia Tjicha who caught up with Vaal Observer at the Post Office said she was going to walk home as she didn’t have money for taxi.
“I am from Vereeniging and they sent me here, but is closed again. And I will have to walk home,” Tjinga.
Another Vanderbijlpark resident Gogfrey Mulalo, said he was very inconvenienced by thre closure of the Post Office as he had promised his families groceries today.
“So when are they going to open because I intended to buy my family groceries today. Now I don’t know what my children will eat until I collect my grant,” said Mulalo.