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Sassa ready to roll out R350 grants to millions of unemployed during lockdown

Sassa ready to roll out R350 grants to millions of the unemployed.
Sassa ready to roll out R350 grants to millions of the unemployed.
Image: Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius

The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) in Gauteng is expected to start with applications for the R350 social relief distress grant for the unemployed on Monday.

This is as the agency and the social development department announced their readiness for the implementation, which Sassa said had passed the final stage of development on Sunday.

“Sassa had to ensure that it puts all the required controls in place to ensure that the grant is only accessed by deserving and qualifying individuals. There was also a need to ensure that these issues are contained in a legal document in the form of a Government Gazette,” said spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi.

The grant forms part of the R500bn economic and social relief measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to support the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic. Qualifying applicants were expected to receive R350 a month over the next six months, from May until October.

The agency said the criteria for the applications would be gazetted on Sunday to allow millions of deserving applicants to access the grant.

Letsatsi said electronic applications including the use of WhatsApp would go live on Monday and the application process will be demonstrated by minister of social development Lindiwe Zulu.

“Sassa has been rightfully inundated with enquiries from the public about the process of application and the public must be thanked for its patience during these difficult times,” said Letsatsi.

The agency said applicants without smartphones would be able to access this new platform through a short message service (SMS) using the Unstructured Supplementary Data Service (USSD). 

Furthermore, volunteers and community development workers will be deployed to assist those who have no access to technology with applications.  

The agency said payment will be made through deposits made directly into an approved applicant’s bank account if they have one. Applicants without bank accounts will have to apply for their payment to be made through a money transfer.

While scores of people had approached several centres to get assistance, the agency said manual applications would not be permitted.

Letsatsi said the huge need for the grant demanded that government act swiftly “in order to address immediate challenges facing the country and its people”. 

The agency cautioned applicants against providing their banking details to anyone to avoid scams.

“Sassa will only request information once the application has been approved. All beneficiaries and applicants should never give their PIN number or the CVV number on the back of the banking card to anyone — not even Sassa.

“Once applications are approved, Sassa will request confirmation of bank accounts though a secure site — this will also be done electronically. Applicants have the right to request confirmation that a request is from Sassa in order to protect themselves,” said Letsatsi.

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