Nonpayment of survival grant is really heartless

Many of the people queuing for their Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grants at Makhado post office came from out of town, some travelling as far as 87km to collect their payment.
Many of the people queuing for their Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grants at Makhado post office came from out of town, some travelling as far as 87km to collect their payment.
Image: GroundUp/Bernard Chiguvare

Reading about the fiasco in the payment (or rather nonpayment) of the nominal R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant to beneficiaries, I was again appalled by government's apparent inability to effect payment to indigent beneficiaries timeously.

The manner in which the distribution of this grant has been handled is shocking. The individuals responsible for the effective management of this process, should be ashamed of themselves. While living in government subsidised houses, driving subsidised vehicles and being able to enjoy three square meals daily, they fail to see that needy recipients of this grant rely on timeous payment of the stipend for their very survival.

Sassa CEO Totsie Memela's apology to the affected people is absolutely meaningless. Apologies cannot be consumed. The assurance that double payments will be made is equally inane. These people are dependent on monthly assistance, not bi-monthly payments. In essence, what is being said is "we are sorry that you cannot eat this month, but do not worry, you'll be able to buy double the amount of food next month".

The excuses offered are just not acceptable. The very people whom they profess to be helping are suffering due to the prevalent incompetence and apathy.

This being said of this grant, I shudder to think of the chaos that will ensue if (not when), the government ever initiates the basic income grant which it has contemplated and promised for the past 20 years.

Jules Jordaan, Johannesburg

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