The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it will no longer be paying grants on the first of each month.

Starting next month people with disabilities and the elderly will only be able to access their grants on the first and second of the month.

The first two days will be dedicated to the most vulnerable groups.

The agency’s spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi says the changes are aimed at protecting the vulnerable.

Letsatsi says, “This is to make sure that we protect the most vulnerable beneficiaries who happens to be part of the older persons grant and disability grant. One of the things which we have learned is that if you pay people on the first, there are people who are normally employed in formal employment.”

He adds, “Most of them will get their pay on the last day of the month or on the first day of the month and this creates unnecessary congestion. Hence Management came to the conclusion that we need to make sure that we stagger the payment so that, especially those who are getting the old age grant and disability grant, they get their grant early.”

INFOGRAPHIC: Number of COVID-19 infections and deaths:

NGO working with vulnerable elderly

As KwaZulu-Natal bears the burden of the country’s deaths from COVID-19, the elderly have emerged as one of the most vulnerable groups. Seven of the 13 deaths have been in the province.

Durban-based non-profit organisation, the Association for the Aged-(TAFTA) says while they have restricted access and implemented stricter hygiene and social distancing rules, encouraging a spirit of ubuntu and elderly-led solutions is the key to keeping the older members of society safe.

TAFTA Chief Executive Officer, Femada Shamam has praised the work of the 150 caregivers and service staff, who chose to stay locked down with TAFTA’s elderly residents, limiting the risk for those in their care.

Shamam says it has been important to include the elderly in finding solutions, to empower them to feel in control of their life.

“They are scared and we have to acknowledge that. Throughout the world stats indicate that older people are the most vulnerable group. It’s not about us keeping you safe but you keeping yourself safe as well. So there’s this sense of community responsibility. Older people have come together to help us. In some of the buildings you’ll find that two or three of the ladies will get together and bake muffins for everyone in the building. They will then see it distributed to people in their rooms not calling everyone to our hall.”

The graphic below gives information about coronavirus protective measures: