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Citizens desperate to register for R350 grant flood centres

Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu.
Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu.
Image: Trevor Samson

Labour centres across the country have experienced large numbers of visitors as desperate citizens try to collect the R350 a month social grant earmarked for jobless people.

The employment and labour department expressed concern about the crowds gathering in defiance of social distancing regulations. The grant forms part of the R500bn economic and social relief measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to support the economy during Covid-19.

The department said: "Social grants are a purview of the department of social development and not the department of employment and labour. The latter is only responsible for, among other things, the payment of unemployment insurance and for occupational injuries and diseases."

The department said large groups of people descended on labour centres in several areas including Alberton in Gauteng, PE, East London, Grahamstown, Graaff Reinet, Queenstown and Uitenhage in Eastern Cape, Pinetown in KZN and in Cape Town.

Labour minister Thulas Nxesi said labour centres are closed for walk-ins for the duration of the lockdown. "This decision is part of government's efforts to curb the spread of the virus by minimising physical contact. This is in the best interests of the public and employees of the department. While our labour officers continue to process claims to ensure claimants receive their UIF disbursements on schedule, the centres are not open to the public," said Nxesi.

His department urged unemployment insurance beneficiaries to submit their applications online and/or drop applications at the drop-in facilities outside labour centres countrywide. Beneficiaries can also submit claims online via www.ufiling.co.za or contact UIF by calling 0800-030-007.

Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu earlier said people can apply for the R350 grant by sending a WhatsApp message to 0600-123-456 and selecting Sassa, or by sending an email to SRD@sassa.gov.za

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