THE National Social and Security Authority (Nssa) has closed accounts for widows and widowers, triggering an outcry.

In an interview yesterday, Masvingo Pensioners Forum co-ordinator Charles Gonzi described the move as inconsiderate.

“Nssa closed accounts for those with deceased husbands and wives who could not register on time. We were told we needed to bring our children regardless of where we are coming from. In this COVID-19 pandemic, movement is very difficult. How are people supposed to travel in this environment?” he said.

Gonzi said Nssa should have reached out to pensioners.

“How are we supposed to register, they did not consider the inconveniences of travelling at such a time. Nssa should do outreach programmes so that everyone registers. They just closed the accounts and said none will get money,” Gonzi said.

Contacted, Nssa deputy director of marketing Tendai Mutseyekwa said they carried out an outreach programme to register pensioners.

“We carried a programme between April and June. The life certificate renewal exercise was published everywhere, including on radios. We set up offices everywhere in the country and we reached pensioners everywhere in the country,” Mutseyekwa said.

“The need to renew these certificates is to close ghost benefitters. We are trying to protect Nssa funds and the pensioners as well.”

Mutseyekwa said they need proof in order for them to renew those certificates.

“We cannot risk paying people, we need proof.”

Recently, Nssa introduced mobile clinics to enable pensioners to access affordable health services in what pensioners described as a short term benefit.

Pensioners in the country have been living like destitutes due to unsustainable payouts amid the economic crisis.