Sassa has received more than 2-million R350 grant applications since Friday

11 August 2021 - 10:00 By cebelihle bhengu
Sassa's systems have been slowed by a deluge of applications for the R350 grant.
Sassa's systems have been slowed by a deluge of applications for the R350 grant.
Image: South African Gov‏ via Twitter

More than 2.15-million people have applied for the social relief of distress grant since applications opened on Friday.

Qualifying individuals are able to apply for the grant via the website, WhatsApp and Facebook, the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) told TimesLIVE on Tuesday.

WHEN WILL I GET THE R350?

Eligible applicants will receive their first payments in the last week of August, social development minister Lindiwe Zulu said last week.

The eligibility criteria include that applicants be unemployed and not receiving any social grant, employment insurance benefit or any other government Covid-19 response support.

The grant was reintroduced to assist unemployed youth and those affected by the unrest that recently ravaged areas in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. 

WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE CROOKING THE SYSTEM?

Sassa told TimesLIVE it has tight measures in place to ensure the grant reaches those who need it most.

It will validate information sent by applicants against other databases including the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and government employees’ pension funds. 

“Banks will form part of the validation process. Sassa will be monitoring the system closely. Together with law enforcement agencies, we will deal with anyone trying to rob the system,” said Sassa.

IS IT ME, OR IS THE CHANNELS TO APPLY SLOW?

The first day of applications saw the process slow down as systems dealt with a flurry of applications. 

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

The agency said it will soon launch a USSD channel to help with the application process. 

There are easy to follow steps on these channels and red tape has been cut because applicants don’t need to upload any documents, as was the case before,” said Sassa. 


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