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Video: SASSA beneficiaries sleep outside Bellville offices awaiting payment

May 11th 2021 at 11:26

Article originally published by GroundUp/Ashraf Hendricks and Liezl Human.

Hundreds of people queued outside the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices in Bellville last week, hoping to get disability grants. Some of the beneficiaries had been queueing since early in the morning and others had slept outside the office the night before. This is a typical scene at the beginning of every month.

We visited the office on 4 May and spoke to people in the queue. They had travelled from Elsies River, Bothasig and Delft. And for some this was the second or third time they’d been queuing, hoping to renew their grants.

The disability grants lapsed at the end of December 2020, after being extended during the Covid-19 lockdown, and this means that many beneficiaries have to go to SASSA’s offices to renew their grants.

Video: SASSA beneficiaries sleep outside Bellville offices awaiting payment

GroundUp have captured footage of SASSA disability grant beneficiaries sleeping in the street outside the Bellville offices.

Tshwane lawyer slapped with costs after trying to sue The Citizen

May 5th 2021 at 13:35

A Tshwane attorney got more than he bargained for when he tried suing the press over an expose linking him and his firm to shady lottery grants, only for the court to throw the case out and slap him with the legal costs the titles he hauled to court, including The Citizen, racked up as a result.

Now not only are his assets at risk of being sold to foot the R93,000 bill, he is also staring at a renewed bid to potentially get him disbarred over fraud allegations.

ALSO READ: GroundUp takes lawyers’ council to court

In April 2019, the High Court in Pretoria dismissed an urgent application that Lesley Ramulifho, of Ramulifho Inc, brought against GroundUp, The Citizen and The Daily Dispatch aimed at the removal of articles detailing how he allegedly hijacked HIV non-governmental organisation Denzhe Primary Care and used funding the National Lotteries Commission had doled out to buy, among others, two Ocean Basket franchises.

Ramulifho said this was a “loan” which he has since repaid.

The court found the case was not urgent and ordered Ramulifho to pay the “wasted” costs the media houses incurred.

But with a R93,086.84 bill still outstanding, the sheriff last month moved to attach moveable property at Ramulifho’s offices.

And his legal woes are stacking up: the Legal Practice Centre (LPC) last year dismissed a misconduct complaint GroundUp lodged against him accusing him of having used forged documents to try and win his case and an appeal bid.

SEE PICS: Lotto boss living his best life, while on suspension with R270k a month salary

GroundUp has now turned to the High Court in Johannesburg in a bid to get a judge to set aside the LPC’s decisions and reconsider the complaint.

GroundUp editor Nathan Geffen, in founding papers filed last week, argued the process followed wasn’t in line with the Legal Process Act and was irrational; that the decisions reached were “substantively irrational and unreasonable” and “based on material error of law”.

LPC spokesman Sthembiso Mnisi on Wednesday confirmed the case had been filed.

In his urgent application, Ramulifho accused the press of damaging his reputation, which affected his business “drastically”.

Shack fire claims life of three-year-old

May 3rd 2021 at 08:55

Originally published by GroundUp/Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

Tragedy struck in Siqalo informal settlement near Mitchells Plain, Cape Town on Friday.

Bulelwa Mili lost her three-year-old son when her shack burnt down. Mili was away at the time. Every Friday she leaves her house at 4:30am to go to Westgate to collect clothes and food donated by residents, which she then sells to support her children.

“When I came back my child’s lifeless body was lying there covered with a silver paper. That picture will remain in my mind forever,” said Mili.

Mili is 31 years old and unemployed. She had left Alunamda (Alu) in the care of her boyfriend. She suspects a candle started the fire. Siqalo is not electrified although some people who can afford it use illegal connections.

“My 11-year-old son asked to sleep at my sister’s shack because schools are closed. When I left, Alu was still sleeping. I told my boyfriend that I was leaving. I asked him to blow out the candle since they were still sleeping,” said Mili.

“When I returned home around 10am my son [Alu] was already gone [dead]. He managed to get off the bed and walked towards the door but the door was locked. He could not get out,” said the grieving mother.

When GroundUp arrived, Mili’s boyfriend was still being questioned by police. Police spokesperson Captain Frederick Van Wyk said an inquest has been opened.

Community leader Ndimphiwe Diza said they noticed the fire around 7am.

“We rushed here trying to extinguish the fire with water but with no luck. We suspected that children might be inside … We all know her situation that she survives by asking for old clothes at Westgate to sell.”

City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said two informal structures and a vehicle were damaged in the blaze. The cause of the fire has not been established.

“I have nothing. I don’t even know how to start preparing for his funeral. Fire destroyed everything. We are only left with the clothes we are wearing. I don’t even know who to ask for help. Please help me to bury my son,” said Mili.

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