04/11/2013 05:41 pm ET

Ria Van Straaten, 87, Allegedly Forced To Sing For Pension Check

Some people sing for their supper, but singing for a pension check was the last thing an 87-year-old South African wanted -- or expected.

Ria van Straaten visited a pension office in Newcastle, South Africa, to pick up her monthly check of $1,200.

But an official with the country's Social Security Agency (SASSA) allegedly wouldn't hand over the cash until she sang over a public address system, reported.

Van Straaten, who is partially blind, eventually decided to sing "Happy Birthday" after the official allegedly threatened to withhold her pension card.Now, her son, Braam, 63, is speaking out on this public servant.

"Her humiliating performance was on the big screens in the building and staff members found it funny and no one tried to help her," he said, according to

SASSA spokesman Vusi Mahaye said the agency investigating the matter, but says some of the allegations don't add up.

He told the South African Post that there was no public address system at the office and the TVs are only used for DVDs or normal TV programs. Finally, there was no onsite cameraman, something that would have been necessary for the incident to be screened on internal TVs.

But Braam van Straaten claims the officials bullied his mother because she had gone there by herself, reported.