Sassa says heavy traffic from R350 grant applications slowing down systems

10 August 2021 - 18:39 By belinda pheto
Sassa's systems have been slowed down by a deluge of applicants for the R350 grant.
Sassa's systems have been slowed down by a deluge of applicants for the R350 grant.
Image: South African Gov‏ via Twitter

Despite establishing additional Social Relief of Distress grant application channels, the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) said its systems were overwhelmed and battling to deal with the traffic.

On Monday, hopeful applicants for the R350 were unable to make their applications as the website was down. A direct chat service and Sassa's Facebook Messenger channel, introduced on Friday, was also down.

The USSD channel that reportedly went live on Tuesday — another of the systems meant to ease the pressure on the Sassa website — also had glitches, with applicants saying they were receiving error messages.

The error message on the Sassa website.
The error message on the Sassa website.
Image: Screenshot from Sassa website

However, Sassa spokesperson Kgomoco Diseko said everything was well on their side, and that challenges experienced by applicants could be because of the heavy traffic they were experiencing on all their application platforms.

“The system is a bit slow because of the high volume of people who are trying to access our platforms at the same time,” he told TimesLIVE.

Diseko said applicants should be patient and continue trying to make their applications.

Since the application process went live on Friday, hopeful applicants have had to deal with system glitches. On Friday, Sassa said the first day of applications for the special so-called Covid-19 grant got off to a slow start due to excessive traffic on its website.

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

In a statement, Sassa said anyone still experiencing technical difficulties with WhatsApp or the website is reminded that they still have the whole of August to apply to receive their August payments.

“Our technicians are working tirelessly to stabilise the system. We appeal to all affected applicants to please exercise patience.”

At the moment, those wishing to apply for the R350 grant have an option to either use the Sassa website, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or the chatbot on the Sassa website.