Aggrieved R350 relief grant applicants 'feel let down' by Sassa
Many people who applied to receive a R350 grant have been left disappointed after the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) declined millions of applications for the Covid-19 relief grant.
The R350 grant is meant for unemployed citizens and qualifying foreign citizens during the lockdown. It was announced in April by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In a statement, the agency said the majority of declined applications were from people who were found to be receiving Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits or qualified to receive the UIF benefits.
This comes a month after the first payment of the relief grant was delayed and applicants were told to be patient.
To date, out of 3.2-million applicants, more than 1.2 million people received the R350 Covid-19 relief grant and about two million others are yet to receive payment, or have been rejected.
“Sassa verifies all applicants by matching their data with other public and private databases to eliminate possibilities of double-dipping so that only deserving applicants received this financial aid,” said the agency.
To qualify for the grant, according to Sassa, people must either be unemployed, without any income or not receiving any kind of government assistance — such as UIF, National Student Financial Aid Scheme, social grants or any other financial support — and must be above the age of 18.
Sassa's head, Totsie Memela, said she was aware the rejections caused unhappiness but added that the grant was not meant for everyone.
“Those who feel aggrieved should either call 0800 601011 or e-mail email@example.com with their complaints to access the recourse mechanism,” she said
Memela said the aim was “to pay the right grant to the right people”, and no one would be paid without their application being verified.
“We continue to work hard to ensure those who qualify get what is due to them,” said Memela.
“Our main aim is to support the government in alleviating poverty, especially during these difficult times, but we have to follow the required processes. We appeal for patience from those whose applications we have not yet reached,” she said.
Taking to social media, many expressed their grievances, saying they felt “let down” by the agency.