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Applications for R350 unemployment grant goes live

Women do laundry in Setjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra amidst the pandemic.
Women do laundry in Setjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra amidst the pandemic.
Image: Image: Thulani Mbele

Sassa CEO Busisiwe Memela has urged people who do not qualify for the Covid-19 grant not to apply.

The Covid-19 social grant is scheduled to go live at 12 noon on Monday, allowing those who have no income to apply for the R350 unemployment grant. The grant is meant to help those who do not draw a grant of any type, or any other form of income or stipend, such as the NSFAS allowance for an example.

“In the pilot that we did, 50% of the people that apply were those who did not qualify. We urge people who do not qualify not to apply; the grant is meant only for those who really need the help…If you receive a social grant you should not apply.

“We want to stretch the rand that we have so that we can help the most vulnerable in our society,” Memela said.

The applications will be done online across the country, to enable Sassa to also capture data as it processes the applications. People who will qualify for the grant, will benefit from it for six months. Also excluded are people earning from the unemployment insurance fund or another similar benefit.

Memela confirmed all applications will be done online and will require the following information: ID number, name and surname, gender and disability detail, bank details and residential address. No proof of address will be required.

Applications can be via WhatAapp number 082 046 8553. Those with no smartphones can use their older models to send this USSD number *134*7737# and follow instructions from the reply. Those with access to email can send their applications to srd@sassa.gov.za

“In the far flung areas where people may not have the technology, we will have people who will go to these areas with the help of the NDA (National Development Agency) who will go and help people in those areas to apply,” Memela said.

For the WhatsApp application, the applicant must first save the number on their mobile. Once accessed the whatsapp, the applicant must type Sassa and the system will welcome you and ask how you would like to be helped. It then asks if the applicant is applying for themselves or on behalf of someone.

After the questions has been answered, the system will show the terms of the grant for the applicant.The system further asks for name and address. The applicant is then taken into a secure site where the personal information is kept and one a unique reference number and onetime pincode is used.

The application is then concluded in that platform but the results of the application are not immediately available as information has to be verified.

“For us what becomes critical is to test the applicant against all government databases, to make sure that the person that claims are actually the person they say they are…I know that our people always like to take chances. In instances where you have given your cellphone elsewhere, the system will kick you out,” said Memela.

Each applicant must choose one method of application.

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