Frustration is mounting among South Africans who have applied for the social relief of distress (SRD) grant, but who’ve not heard anything back. It’s been a week since payments of R350 a month for the next six months were rolled out. But many people have yet to receive any communication from Sassa regarding the status of their applications. In other cases, individuals received a short response but no details about when payments would start.
As the country battles the social and economic implications of Covid-19, help in a form of SRD grant was announced by the minister of social development, Lindiwe Zulu, at the start of May. In the announcement, the minister said payments would be made from 15 May. By the roll-out date over 3,5 million people had applied. Applications were sent via WhatsApp, SMS, email and on the Sassa website.
For millions of South Africans, R350 a month will go a long way to help them in these difficult times. Move! speaks to applicants who’ve expressed their disappointment at how the application process has gone for them.
Lungelo Zwane (36) of KwaZulu-Natal applied on 7 May via SMS and again on 11 May via email.
“I am not sure if you can call it feedback, but I received a confirmation email saying the application was successful,” he says. That was the only feedback he received. “My plan is to job-hunt – since companies prefer CVs to be dropped off by hand – and buy bread every other day. I wish Sassa could be transparent so we can understand what the hold-up could be,” he adds.
Struggling mother Farhana Sidiqqui of Johannesburg South is unemployed and in desperate need of the grant so she can buy food and essentials.
“Sassa please stop making promises, people like myself really need that money,” she pleads. Farhana applied via WhatsApp and hasn’t received any form of communication.
Terison Lebea (25) is also waiting for feedback after applying via WhatsApp on 10 May. He hasn’t received any response after sending all the necessary information. At this point, he doesn’t know if he’s eligible to receive the grant money. “I would buy data so that I can apply for jobs online, print CVs and keep some for travelling in case I’m called for interviews,” he says.
The Sassa Twitter account has been inundated with questions from frustrated applicants. In a series of tweets, Sassa pleaded with applicants to be patient with the process.