No need to panic and apply all at once for the R350 Covid-19 grant, says Sassa

13 August 2021 - 12:00 By unathi nkanjeni
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

With the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) website under severe pressure, the agency's spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi has urged R350 social relief grant applicants not to apply all at once. 

This week, the agency's website saw heavy traffic as applications for the relief grant soar above 4-million, slowing down the systems.

Speaking on SAfm, Letsatsi said this year's number of applications was more than four times higher than last year, which was 800,000. 

To date, he said about 4.4 million people have applied for the relief grant, and applications were all being made at once. 

“The system is under stress, but our IT division was working on it to make sure that it can accommodate as many people as possible. We know that they’re keeping an eye on it,” said Letsatsi. 

“We also want to inform people that the application is open until the end of August. So people don’t necessarily have to panic — all of them want to make an application at once.”

He encouraged applicants to download the GovChat app and use it to apply for the grant. 

“The good thing about the process now is that we have opened an extra channel. So we have people who can make an application using other forms of channels like the GovChat app,” he said.

What is the GovChat app and how do I use it?

The app was conceptualised and developed by former ministerial special adviser Eldrid Jordaan.

According to the app, it enhances governance transparency and accountability through the provision of tools for citizens to measure service levels, combined with the technology and empirical data analytics for government to improve them.

Social relief grant applicants can apply on the app by using their login details.

To log in, applicants need to provide their mobile number to receive their verification code through SMS. The app is available on iOS and Android operating systems. 

Applicants also have the option to either use the Sassa website, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or the chatbot on the Sassa website. 

Avoiding long queues

Last week, Letsatsi urged applicants to provide their banking details to avoid going to the SA Post Office. 

“We are working on plans to make sure that at the end of August, when the payments commence, we have engaged other merchants so people do not flock to post offices,” he said on 702

“We appeal to people who are going to make applications for the R350 grant to please give us their banking details because they do not necessarily have to flock to post offices.”


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