The government has admitted that large numbers of beneficiaries who are eligible to receive the R350 COVID-19 social relief grant are yet to get their money.
The money was meant for people who are either without employment or have since lost their jobs due to the pandemic and who are not receiving other forms of state assistance.
The government has since extended the duration of the special COVID-19 social grant until next year January. Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, who was part of the virtual question and answer session in the National Assembly, says 6 million beneficiaries were processed last month alone.
“For October, 9 267 261 were processed. 6 160 014 were approved. A total of 160 847 have not yet been paid. I do wish to indicate honourable chair and honourable members that the numbers of the unpaid are accumulative because these are the numbers that come from each and every one of the months that we were supposed to pay.”
Zulu has apologised on behalf of the government to people who have not yet received their COVID-19 social grants money. She conceded that the protracted delays are because of a number of factors and that they are taking a toll on people who need the cash.
“I want to assure you, honourable member, that those that have seem to have fallen to the cracks will remain our responsibility to pay them, whether we are backdating them-whatever the case may be. They do deserve to be paid and I am responsible for Sassa and doing oversight in the department in making sure that they are paid. And we really apologise to the fact that many of them remain unpaid. “
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga who was also part of the session says no COVID-19 related deaths have been reported during this year’s matric exams. She says there have been some incidents including a student giving birth during an exam.
“There is a learner who gave birth and teachers had to assist-so those are all the difficulties that we usually experience. There is a learner who had a belt in his stomach…so these are the kind of experiences that we always encounter because these are learners that have all sorts of challenges. But I am not aware of any learner that could have died. “
The Department has also been dealing with examination paper leaks:
It is currently working with the Hawks regarding a Physics Paper Two leak, after the Maths Pare 2 leak.
Reviving old policy on housing
The government has announced that it will soon be reviving its old policy on housing that will allow people to receive vacant pieces of land to build their own houses as an alternative to the current system of building houses for them.
It says this is, in part, because of the housing backlog and the recent land invasions during the lockdown in areas such as the Western Cape.
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has told Parliament that her department is expediting the refined housing policy for approval by cabinet.
“This is an old policy that we have used over a long period of time there are pockets along the N2 where we have allowed people land and they have built for themselves. What we are doing now is reviving that policy so that people can build their own houses. Secondly, what makes us take this decision? What makes us take this decision was when we were confronted with the possibility that with the lockdown our output would be much lower than what we had expected it would be. And we had land invasions notable in the Western Cape and in Gauteng as well and we sat down with the people who were invading the land and they indicated to us that they wouldn’t mind building their own houses. “
Motsepe’s CAF candidature
Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the government will be throwing its unwavering support behind businessman Patrice Motsepe when he contests the position of the presidency of the Confederation of African Football next year.
Mthethwa says the support of government should not be construed as interference to football matters. “This is exclusively the decision of football, the mother body of football in the country which is SAFA, so we support that. So I can assure honourable members as the Minister of Sports, Recreation and Culture that ours will be that, we won’t interfere.”