Application for a pension,
As attempted by a friend,
Has too many snags to mention,
And some red tape without end.
It would seem the SA nation
Doesn’t like the office found –
They disguise it as a station,
With no single sign around.
By the queues alone you know it,
As they snake around the bend;
Driven round the bend they show it,
With a wait that has no end.
If you try a conversation
While you’re waiting in the queue
Speakers give you consternation
When they blare the next train due.
Our poor friend finally buckled under the bureaucracy that demanded he apply for his pension at the office in Durban itself instead of that closer to our home to which we found it easier to offer transport. I took him to the one in the city today, and the appointed address turned out to be the backside of the railway station. A friendly employee at a nearby service station directed us to a set of steps with no signage, and at the top there was still nothing to indicate where to go – except for the distant view of a sorry mob who turned out to be waiting not for a train, but for pension purposes. They were condemned to stand for most of the morning in line before being admitted to a room where, at least, benches were provided, and then sitting on these for a few hours more.
Not a single sign appeared anywhere, inside or out, to identify the SASSA office, except for an A4-size notice at the door regarding old age pensions in general. This was dated from about 2008. There might have been some signage in the room itself, but I didn’t get to see inside.
Finally, our friend did get some registering done, but he still has to go back tomorrow for an interview. Oh, joy!