The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it has so far processed around 75 000 applications for the R350 social relief grant meant for millions of unemployed South Africans during the COVID-19 lockdown.

But only half of that number have qualified to get the grant.

Sassa says those who qualify will be paid at the end of this month.

Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi says, “On the 15th we paid about 10 people and those 10 people who were paid it was just to test if the system is working. But there is a category of people of about 75 000 which made applications as well.”

“Out of that 75 000, half of it unfortunately we disqualified because they are getting one kind of a grant or the other because some of them are getting social grants, some are getting the UIF or some of them are on National Student Finance Aid Scheme (NSFAS),”explains Letsatsi.

In the video below, Black Sash national director Lynette Maart reacts to reports that Sassa has only paid 10 people:

Earlier, Sassa had given the assurance that there will be increased capacity of staff at offices across the country.

This as many people expressed disappointment at not being able to register themselves or their children for various grants including the COVID-19 unemployment relief fund.

There have been long queues at Sassa offices across the country in the past, after child support grant applications were opened.

Most returned home without being assisted after spending hours in the queue.

Sassa Chief Executive Officer, Busisiwe Memela-Khambula, says it is not necessary for people to go to their offices to collect their payments because it is being deposited in their bank accounts.

“On the payment side, I think it’s very important to clarify this, we pay the money of the beneficiary into their bank account and there’s no need for people to come to us.”

“Like everywhere else in the country, we have been allowed to bring only a third of our staff into our branches, which therefore means that the people can take a limited number of people into the branch. Hence, we’ve decided that we are going to call all our staff back, others will work inside the office or others will work outside this coming week, so that they can manage the queues,” says Memela-Khambula.

 

In the video below, Sassa unpacks social relief of distress grant: