Here’s why more than 3-million South Africans who could have received the R350 grant were excluded

22 October 2021 - 12:00
A report indicated up to 9.4-million South Africans qualify for the grant, but only 6.5-million recipients were paid regularly. File photo.
A report indicated up to 9.4-million South Africans qualify for the grant, but only 6.5-million recipients were paid regularly. File photo.
Image: South African Government via Twitter

More than 3-million people who are eligible for the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant are not receiving the assistance.

This is according to the social development department’s Dr Wiseman Magasela, who provided an update on the state of the grant since it was implemented in 2020. 

On Thursday the department released a report on the progress of the grant payments. 

The report indicated that up to 9.4-million South Africans qualify for the grant, but only 6.5-million recipients were paid regularly. 

“This means the systems the SA Social Services Agency (Sassa) put in place missed a minimum of 3.5-million people who qualified, and that is quite a significant number,” said Magasela.

According to the department, reasons for exclusion included urban bias and a lack of smartphones and digital literacy. 

“The role of technology and its advantages, benefits and shortcomings in social security in SA has been demonstrated and important lessons learned,” said the department.

The report recommended the elimination of exclusion of qualifying citizens through the design of application, verification and payment processes. 

“Nearly all systems based on a means test or criteria will have errors. Exclusion errors deny the very people the programme is targeting,” it said. 

The report also stated that more than 93% of the R350 grant recipients used it to buy food for their families. Electricity was second choice with 31.85%.

When can I collect my outstanding payment?

Sassa urged R350 SRD grant recipients from the previous cycle to collect their outstanding payments by November 30 at a post office or they will be forfeited. 

The agency said if payments are not collected by the set date, they will be forfeited by the state to fund other “government priorities”.

Here are the payment dates for October according to the last three digits of beneficiaries’ ID numbers:

  • 080 — October 12, 19 and 26;
  • 081 — October 13, 20 and 27; 
  • 082 — October 14, 21 and 28;
  • 083 — October 1, 15, 22 and 29;
  • 084 — October 11, 18 and 25;
  • 085 — October 12, 19 and 26;
  • 086 — October 13, 20 and 27;
  • 087 — October 14, 21 and 28;
  • 088 — October 1, 15, 22 and 29; and 
  • 089 — October 11, 18 and 25

These dates are applicable to the SA Post office payout system. Beneficiaries can receive their grants as soon as they receive confirmation of payment from Sassa. 


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