People queuing outside the Greyville Post Office in Durban to collect their R350 grant. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)
People queuing outside the Greyville Post Office in Durban to collect their R350 grant. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

Over 5 million people have applied for the R350 grant, says Sassa

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Aug 13, 2021

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THE South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says that it received over 5 million Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant applications by Wednesday, following the opening of applications on August 6.

Sassa said that its application system was now processing millions of applications at once and that applicants for the R350 grant would soon be able to view their current status. The the highest number of applicants for the grant were in the 20 to 24 and 25 to 29 age groups, respectively.

When moving the country to adjusted level 3 of the lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa also reinstated the SRD grant, adding that caregivers who were receiving the child support grant were also eligible for the SRD grant.

When opening applications on August 6, the agency said that it had gotten off to a slow start due to excessive traffic on its website.

At the time, Sassa CEO Boitumelo Memela-Khambula said that this was a clear indication of the huge need for food aid, among other things, from distressed inhabitants of the country, and that Ramaphosa could not have reinstated this grant at a better time.

However, there have been some concerns raised about Sassa’s ability to handle the volume of applications, with the DA saying that they were worried that the agancy’s systems would be overwhelmed.

The DA’s MP and its spokesperson on social development Bridget Masango said that the reliability of the databases used to vet applicants was also a problem as people had complained that they had been workless for years, yet their names remain on these databases, excluding them from the grant.

“Another concern is the closure of post offices as many people depend on them to receive their grants. The capacity of the post office is also a concern as people have taken multiple trips to post offices only to be told that the post offices have run out of cash,” Masango said.

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