A report from a forum of 250 hospitality business owners showed that “all foreign national applications” were being “categorically declined” by glitches in the online system, even though all UIF payments were up to date.
Though some payments had recently come through, many foreigners were left destitute as restaurant owners no longer had the cash flow to pay even a portion of salaries.
Still worse off are those who are not entitled to apply at all: refugee status holders and permanent residents have been eligible and have encountered glitches in the system, but asylum seekers have been shut out completely.
According to Sally Gandar, head of advocacy at The Scalabrini Centre in Cape Town, despite the grants’ intention being to assist people, it had excluded “those who are most desperate”.
The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa said, “human lives are at stake and now is not the time for the South African government to practise and implement any form of exclusionary or discriminatory measures”.