An 87-year-old partially-blind woman in South Africa says that she was humiliated when a local welfare office forced her to sing before receiving her Social Security check.


According to South African newspaper The Witness, Braam Straaten said he would lodge a complaint because a SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) official in Newcastle refused to hand over a $22 old age pension check to his mother, Ria van Straaten, unless she sang into a public address microphone.

"When the senior citizen said she did not know which song to sing, the official insisted that she sing and threatened to withhold her pension card," The Witness reported.

The frail woman eventually agreed to sing Happy Birthday.

"Her humiliating performance was on the big screens in the building and staff members found it funny and no one tried to help her," Braam Straaten explained. "I am enraged that officials can act this way. To make matters worse, this was a female official who did this to her."

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