President Cyril Ramaphosa says the COVID-19 special relief grant will only be paid for six months. He acknowledged the delays in payments, attributing it to technical glitches in the system.

On Thursday, during its virtual media conference, the EFF called for the social and unemployment relief grants to be extended.

Ramaphosa says the fiscus is under pressure due to the pandemic. “With our revenue source shrinking, we saw and heard the commissioner of Sars saying that we are going to be short of R285 billion. Now, that is money that could’ve come in handy from a fiscal point of view. We are in a serious situation and what we have done was to craft a R500 billion assistance, both our social and economic relief package, to help to navigate vulnerable people in our country, as well as companies that are in distress and this is clearly for a limited time.”

The Social Security Agency of South Africa (Sassa) said on Thursday that close to 300 000 people would be paid their R350 grant by the end of May.

The agency says it received just under 5 million applications and this figure includes duplications, incomplete and invalid applications.

Sassa CEO Busisiwe Memela-Khambula said now their system is able to process 1 million applications a day.

“The essential work for Sassa is actually making sure that people get paid. That is why we had to make sure that in terms of this particular application process, we’ve got other channels other than physical channels.”

In the video below, Busisiwe Memela-Khamble unpacks the social relief grant: