Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has again refuted allegations that she instructed the police in Bellville, Cape Town, to spray South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grant recipients with a water cannon outside the Sassa offices.

The incident occurred in January during her official two-day visit to assess the work of the office.

During her media briefing in parliament on Friday, Zulu reiterated her initial stance after the incident that there is no truth in the allegations that she was behind the chaos.

“Yes, the police did spray the people; yes, I did ask them to stop; yes, I spoke to Police Minister Bheki Cele for us to get a report on that. But I suppose Sassa will have to deal with that. But also the police … the command line of the police will have to deal with that,” explains Zulu.

Govt extends Social relief of Distress Grant

Government has extended the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SDG) for another duration of three months as part of additional measures that are being implemented to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

So far about 9.7 million applications are being processed on a monthly basis for those beneficiaries that will be eligible to receive the grants.

Zulu says about six million beneficiaries are currently receiving the grant.

“The 9.7 million that had already apply, will continue to be re-assessed monthly and qualifying applicants will continue to be paid in the same way that we were doing before. About six million beneficiaries received this grant on a monthly basis.”

“The department has spent over R17 billion thus far on this grant, benefiting those in need of direct income. We anticipate that by the end of the extended period we would have spent over R22 billion to support this group of beneficiaries,” explains Zulu.

In the video below, Minister Lindiwe Zulu briefs media on social relief measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Earlier, the department said it has received about 27 000 applications from various civil society groups for financial assistance in their Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in line with the COVID-19  pandemic relief fund.