Sassa warns of fake Covid-19 R350 distress grant post

27 July 2021 - 12:30 By unathi nkanjeni
Sassa warned that a fake news post about applications for the R350 grant was doing the rounds on social media. File photo.
Sassa warned that a fake news post about applications for the R350 grant was doing the rounds on social media. File photo.
Image: South African Gov‏ via Twitter

Recipients of the social relief of distress (SRD) grant can’t seem to catch a break from scammers. 

On Monday the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) warned that a fake post about the R350 grant was doing the rounds on social media, just a day after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the reinstatement of the distress grant.

The agency warned the public to be aware of the fake post advising people how to apply for the grant.

The poster details bogus steps regarding how to apply for the grant by using WhatsApp, emails or contacting the call centre. 

“Please be vigilant about the false information below that does not come from Sassa. No applications for the special Covid-19 SRD grant will be made via telephone, email or USSD. Details and the date on which the application system reopens will be announced soon,” warned Sassa.

Sassa also warned people not to provide personal information to unknown sites claiming the agency was giving out food parcels.

On Sunday, Ramaphosa reinstated the distress grant, saying it will end in March 2022. 

The grant comes after the extent of damage caused during recent violent unrest triggered by the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa said the move to bring back the grant was made possible by the slight improvement the country has seen in revenue collection.

“We are expanding the number of people who are eligible for the grant by allowing unemployed caregivers who currently receive a child support grant to apply,” he said. 

“This will build on the strength of our existing social protection system, which is one of the greatest achievements of our democracy. 

“In addition to the food relief being provided by the department of social development, government is contributing R400m to the Humanitarian Crisis Relief Fund established by the Solidarity Fund to assist with the immediate needs of affected communities. We are also implementing measures to help businesses to rebuild.”

In the past, scammers have used Sassa’s name to lure people into giving up their personal information for suspicious purposes.

Earlier this month, Sassa said the fake messages on social media led to unemployed people gathering at Sassa offices in Ladysmith and Dundee in KwaZulu-Natal for R750 food vouchers.

Sassa said police had to be called in to assist when people started flocking to the offices demanding the vouchers.

“These reports are not true and are misleading the public. We urge the public to exercise caution and not to be duped by hoax messages,” said Sassa.

“We appeal to the public to be vigilant. If people are uncertain about information purporting to be from Sassa, they must contact us immediately to verify the veracity of such information.”


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