Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said applications for SRD grants were expected to open on Friday and payments were scheduled to start at the end of August. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said applications for SRD grants were expected to open on Friday and payments were scheduled to start at the end of August. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)

Public servants warned against stealing from the poor as R350 Covid-19 grants applications open

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Aug 6, 2021

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Johannesburg - The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) warned government employees agains fraudulently benefiting from the R350 special Covid19 social relief of distress (SRD) grants.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu this week said applications for SRD grants were expected to open on Friday and payments were scheduled to start at the end of August.

President Cyril Ramaphosa reinstated the SRD grant during his address to the nation two weeks ago and said they would be open until the end of March next year.

Last month, the Public Service Commission (PSC) expressed its concerns that 15 711 public servants were irregularly paid the R350 Covid-19 SRD grants meant for unemployed citizens and urged heads of affected government departments to speed up the recovery of the monies paid to state officials and institute the relevant disciplinary processes against the culprits.

The PSC also undertook to closely monitor these processes to ensure that funds are indeed recovered and report progress to Parliament and the public.

Public service and administration director-general Yoliswa Makhasi on Thursday said the department was concerned about public servants who see nothing wrong in applying for the grant while they have a source of income as the SRD grants were intended to provide relief to the poor and financially distressed citizens.

According to Makhasi, this amounts to fraud and the DPSA is ready and available to support the Department of Social Development and the SA Social Security Agency in strengthening controls to prevent public servants from accessing the SRD grants.

“The DPSA will also give support to ensure that money is recovered from public servants who wrongfully benefited and that their cases are referred to the law enforcement agencies to take action on such officials,” she said.

Makhasi continued: “I want to reiterate that any official who receives any form of income from the public service, does not qualify for this grant and may not apply for it as it is tantamount to stealing from the poor.”

Public servants on the government’s personnel salary system, internships, the expanded public works programme (EPWP), learnerships or any developmental program or receive a form of stipend from the state do not qualify to receive the grant include, according to Makhasi.

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Political Bureau

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