Moya App hits back at Sassa's R350 grant applications warning

13 August 2021 - 08:00
By kyle zeeman AND Kyle Zeeman
The SA Social Security Agency warned applicants against using the Moya App, but its creators have hit back at the agency.
Image: SUPPLIED The SA Social Security Agency warned applicants against using the Moya App, but its creators have hit back at the agency.

The company behind the popular Moya App has responded to the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) warning against using the app, saying it is trying to help with data-free access to the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant application website.

The app came under the spotlight this week when Sassa told applicants the app is not an authorised channel to apply for the grant or follow up on applications, and urged users to instead use its channels, including the Sassa website and social media pages. 

Gour Lentell, CEO of Datafree Africa, which develops and operates the Moya App, told TimesLIVE the company never claimed that Moya is an official Sassa application.

“Our app connects people #datafree (that is, users do not incur data costs) to the official grant application website. Moya merely acts as a conduit allowing our Moya users #datafree access to the SRD website.

“In no way do we interfere with, play a part or collect data related to a user’s application on the SRD website. We do not receive the grant applications,” he explained.

Lentell said the app has more than 1 million people per day accessing the SRD website data free, and had reached out to the agency to clarity its position and maintain its service to applicants.

“We do this at our reverse billed mobile data cost, thus saving users having to have mobile data balance on their SIM cards or taking from their SIM data balance to access the site. This a very significant investment on our part for the benefit of all people in SA. The value of the Moya app is evident in the user comments below the Sassa Facebook post in question.

“Datafree has reached out to several Sassa officials in an attempt to clarify our position and to ensure that our users continue to benefit from the Sassa grant application without incurring data costs. We are disappointed that we have not as yet had a response.”

This comes amid a flood of applications that caused the agency's website and application channels to slow down to a trickle. Many were left frustrated, believing the system to be broken.

Sassa told TimesLIVE on Tuesday that more than two million applications had been sent for the R350 grant since last Friday.

It apologised for the delays and said there was huge demand for the grant.

“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.