Hundreds of thousands of South Africans have already registered for the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant.

Application platforms opened at nine this morning. The R350 grant will be paid out to people who have no income and do not receive any other government support.

R26.7 billion has been set aside for the grants.

Head of Communication at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), Paseka Letsatsi, says the high number of applications put a strain on their systems.

“From this morning, we experienced large number of applicants. Like we’re having about 2 000 applicant per minute, which brought some stress into the system. However, the applications are still going through. We are monitoring the system together with our IT section. Today is not the first and the last day. They have until month end to make an application.” says Paseka Letsatsi, Head of Communication at Sassa.

VIDEO: Application opens for Social Relief of Distress grant: Paseka Letsatsi

Sassa is now investigating other platforms for people to use to apply for the grant.

“The other measures which we introduce is another platform where people can then go and download the app. And then go to messenger and then basically make the applications, in case other platforms are not helping them.”

Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, says people must only send one application to one of the platforms.

“Any of the following frontline application channels may be used; firstly, through the website at srd.sassa.gov.za and through our WhatsApp line on 082 046 8553.”

Letsatsi says they haven’t decided on the final number of applications the budget can accommodate.

“We will make that assessment as we go forward. But in the last cycle we had about 6 million people. But obviously we would make some projections. We definitely make that assessment because this grant is supposed to last until March 2022.”

He says they are still busy with their investigations into fraudulent SRD applications that were paid out the first time the grants were paid.