Thursday, 26 August 2021

Pretoria: The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has successfully started paying out the first batch of applicants for the Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant.

Applications for the grant, which is set at R350, opened on 6 August 2021. The grant is set to benefit unemployed citizens, most of whom lost their jobs when COVID-19 struck in 2020.

President Cyril Ramaphosa last month announced the reinstatement of the SRD grant, which is set to run until the end of March 2022.

In a statement on Wednesday, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) spokesperson, Paseka Letsatsi, said by 18 August 2021, SASSA had received 8 931 375 applications from all nine provinces, of which 41% were from males and 59% from female applicants.

Letsatsi said grant payments are channelled through direct deposits into approved beneficiaries’ bank accounts, mobile money transfers through cell phones, and through the South African Post Office (SAPO).

He said the payment process for all those approved will start from 25 August 2021. However, he emphasised that not everyone should expect to be paid on the day, as this will be done over the coming days.

“To avoid overcrowding at post offices during payment of approved recipients, a joint strategy was put in place by SASSA and SAPO, where the last three digits of the identity numbers of each qualifying recipient will be used for payment collection on a specific day of the week.  This will help minimise the spread of COVID-19 infections and allow for social distancing on pay days.

“Most importantly, if a person has not received a SMS from SASSA notifying them that the grant is available for collection, it means the grant is not available yet.  In other words, every approved applicant must first wait for a SMS confirming that the grant is available,” Letsatsi explained.

He appealed to all successful recipients to cooperate with SASSA and “only go to the post office when you have indeed received a notification SMS to collect your grant”.

“Applicants are advised to avoid disappointment and not go to the post office to ‘just check if by any chance the grant is available’. The grant will not be available if it is not the day of the week when SAPO uses the last three digits of your ID number to pay.

“The function for all applicants to start checking their status on the system will be available later this week. The function has not been available, as SASSA has kept the channels open to cope with the high number of applications received.  Any inconvenience this has caused is sincerely regretted,” Letsatsi said.

SAPO will not pay the R350 grant during public holidays, weekends and when normal monthly social grants payments take place.