Ricochet News

Pensioners threaten to boycott 2019 elections unless govt addresses their welfare

By Afikile Lugunya - May 18, 2018
Pensioners threaten to boycott 2019 elections unless govt addresses their welfare

Local pensioners, affiliated with the Civil Servants Pensioners Forum in Port Elizabeth, on Friday braved the cold weather and marched to the PE offices of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).

There they handed over their Memorandum of Demands to Doctor Khumalo, who was representing the office of the Chief Operating Officer of the GEPF, who said that he would hand over the memorandum to the right authorities.

The marchers, consisting mainly of grannies, said that their main demand is that they receive the proper pensions that the African National Congress (ANC) government said they would receive as a way of addressing the indignity they suffered while working for the apartheid government.

Khumalo said that they would get a response before the end of July.

However, the marchers didn’t seem pleased by the response, explaining that many promises made to them over the years had been broken so many times.

“Mr Khumalo tell them that, if they don’t come, there’s no vote from us and our grandchildren. We are sick and tired of empty promises,” the crowd shouted.

Nomawethu Hole, one of the marchers, said that she started working as a civil servant during the apartheid years and later retired under the democratic dispensation.

“I started to work back in 1976 and retired in 2002. At my retirement, I only received R141 710.26 and now I depend on my children to survive," she described.

Hole said that the government has money, but the problem is that leaders forget that voters put them there and they can take them out.

“Having worked for five years at Nompumelelo Hospital in Ciskei, I received R8 000 [as a pension] and that is understandable because the apartheid government was ruling at that time. However, when I worked for 14 years at Livingstone Hospital's operating theatre, I got R6 000,” another pensioner, Nombulelo Kristina Matshoba, described.

“16-years after pension, I still get R4 000 as my monthly pension. From that amount, I have to pay over R2 000 for my medical aid, then there are electricity and water bills to pay amongst other things.”

Civil Servants Pensioners Forum Convener, Iris Sinetile, said; “I was working or rather training to be a professional nurse in Livingstone Hospital during the apartheid."

She said she fell pregnant during the training and was suspended.

However, after giving birth, she came back to serve for five years and says that she received ‘peanuts’ for the years she worked for the government.

She said that she actually got a tax bill from the government.

“Cyril Ramaphosa must come here to see how hungry retired people are. We don’t even get the SASSA grant for the elderly because they say that we have money,” Sinetile said.

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