Sassa makes some progress in R350 grant payments

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Sassa aims to pay one million R350 grant recipients by the end of this week
Sassa aims to pay one million R350 grant recipients by the end of this week
Ashraf Hendricks/File

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it expects to have paid more than one million beneficiaries of the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant by the end of the week. 

In a statement on Friday, Sassa said it had already paid 750 000 grant recipients.

"These payments made in the week are specifically for the reconsideration appeals for the period of August 2021 to November 2021," said Sassa.

The agency urged beneficiaries to provide their bank account details so that the funds can be deposited.

"Notifications to update details have also been sent to clients whose reconsideration appeal has been approved, but their bank account details were outstanding," Sassa added. 

The agency has come under fire for missing April and May payments for over 10 million South Africans who are dependent on the grant, which was put in place as relief during the Covid-19 pandemic.

There was no detail given about when the payments would be made for the outstanding two months. But the agency said it had begun assessing new grant applications.

Sassa had hoped to pay the grant, which the government extended in February, this week. But the payments were delayed due to the Department of Social Development putting a means test in place to ensure that people who have an income of R350 or more do not receive the grant.

Implementing the means test meant that the Sassa had to sign new agreements with banks, that would be screening the recipients’ bank accounts.

In its statement, Sassa added that legislative changes had to be made for the grant to be extended, after the Covid-19 National State of Disaster was lifted. 

"In this new iterations, one of the conditions of the allocations was to address concerns raised about inclusion and exclusion errors to ensure that we stay within the budget allocation of R44 billion," the agency explained.

Sassa further said the means test is not only for appeals but for all applicants.

"This requires Sassa to implement a similar process of checking income in people’s bank accounts. This was previously only done for those who have appealed. We have now implemented this for all the Covid-19 SRD grant applications upfront," said Sassa.

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