Sassa will pay at least six million R350 grant beneficiaries by the end of August

Sassa says more than 10 million people applied for the grant and applications continue to stream in. File photo.
Picture: South African Gov‏ via Twitter

At least six million beneficiaries will receive their Covid-19 social relief of distress (SDR) grants by the end of August, the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) said on Thursday.

The agency kick-started the first batch of the payments on Wednesday after the grant was reintroduced for the second phase of payouts last month. Sassa told TimesLIVE it will pay out R2.1bn this month alone.

More than 10 million people had applied for the grant and applications continue to stream in through application platforms including the Sassa website and WhatsApp.

Applicants approved for the grant can receive their payments through the SA Post Office or bank accounts, which is the most preferred method of payment, according to the agency.

Sassa said the application process was running smoothly after the initial slow down earlier this month due to a flurry of applications.

“The only challenge was that initially the application platforms were clogged due to the high number of applications coming in at the same time.

Sassa said 96% of applicants applied via the website and the heavy traffic slowed the system until Sassa introduced more platforms for applications.

“The challenge has been overcome and the application process is effortless,” the agency said.

During his national address in July President Cyril Ramaphosa announced government had decided to reinstate the SDR grant.

According to the department of social development, the grant is “intended for persons in dire material need who are unable to meet their families’ most basic needs”, including those hit by unemployment and the recent looting and unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The agency received more than two million applications in less than a week after reopening applications.

Sassa CEO Busisiwe Memela-Khambula said this demonstrated the need for government aid.

“This is a clear indication of the huge need for food aid, among others, from distressed inhabitants of the country, and therefore President Ramaphosa couldn’t have reinstated the grant at a better time,” said Memela-Khambula.

By Cebelihle Bhengu – TimesLIVE

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