Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
2 Jul 2021
11:15 am

Sassa lagging by R700 million in social relief payments – Zulu

Siyanda Ndlovu

Says delays are due to verifying applications with even prisoners and government employees queuing up for R350 grants.

Picture: Flickr/GovernmentZA

The Department of Social Development still has to pay more than R700 million to beneficiaries of the R350 social relief distress grant (SRD).

This was announced by Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu on Friday during a media briefing on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent alert Level 4 lockdown imposed in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

“It is very unfortunate that we have over R700 million that’s still outstanding to be paid to our people,” Zulu said.

She said the delays were due to verification processes of applications to prevent corruption and fraud.

“In many instances we have to keep on verifying whether people are really complying or compliant in terms of their applications and whether people were really out of jobs. Checking whether people deserve the money or not is a bit of a tedious situation but a necessary one.”

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“Shamefully people are applying from prison which is a big problem. You even have people applying who are civil servants.”

Zulu said the department had taken steps to investigate such cases and handed them over to the necessary departments for action if needed.

“We have processed everything from our side as the department and South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). Action needs to be taken by the employers where people are in government in particular.”

Sassa social grant payment dates confirmed for July

The department also confirmed the payment dates for social grants for the month of July 2021.

  • 6 July 2021: Older person’s grants
  • 7 July 2021: Disability grants
  • 8 July 2021 All other grants

Zulu said that there was no need to rush to withdraw cash on the first day. “Once the money is in the account, it will remain there until it is needed.”

She said Sassa offices would remain open but will be operating with reduced staff.

“Applications for social grants at all local offices will be staggered according to grant type. For instance Mondays will be for older persons, Tuesdays for disability grants, Wednesdays and Thursdays for child grant applications and Fridays for appointments and spillover from the week,” Zulu said.

Changes to fast track digitisation system 

Zulu said the department had made changes to fast track the digitisation of services.

“Some of the changes were made during our response to Covid-19 and enable us to fast-track digitisation of our services.

“These include the online booking system for disability grants, which has significantly cut down on the amount of time and costs for both Sassa and grant applicants.

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“We take great pride in the significant progress we have made since the launch of the online booking system in April this year,” Zulu said.

“We therefore would like to encourage disability grant applicants to make use of the Sassa online booking system which can be accessed on www.sassa.gov.za. This will allow applicants to book assessment dates for disability assessments. Our staff at Sassa offices can also assist clients with this system to ensure they avoid repeated visits to local offices.”