National lockdown: South Africans will still be able to access social grant payments

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The Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, said South Africans will still be able to access their social grant payments from 30 March and all shelters are to remain functional during the nationwide lockdown, which is set for midnight on Thursday.

Speaking at a media briefing on Tuesday, Zulu said retailers and banks were working closely with the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), so that everyone was still able to access their grants.

“Recipients are reminded that older persons and persons with disabilities should be allowed to access their grants on 30 and 31 March, so that they are able to return home as quickly as possible, given the lockdown,” Zulu said.

All other grants would be available from 1 April.

Not rush

“We are asking that recipients not rush to get their money as soon as its available, but to wait as their money won’t be taken away - cash points will still be serviced.”

Zulu added other measures would also be implemented, including social distancing at retailers and pay-points, preference given to older people and mothers with young children, and a reduction of face-to-face delivery of services.

According to Zulu, Sassa's local offices will be under lockdown from 27 March until 16 April and no new applications, except for online applications, will be taken.

“All applicants, who need immediate assistance, will be channelled to the Social Relief and Distress Programme (SRD). Applications for SRD will be done through the call centre,” she said.

“I have also written to the Minister of Labour to include social professions (which include social workers, auxiliary workers, child and youth care workers and community development officers) to the compensation list of essential services.”

Shelters

All shelters, such as old age homes, child and youth care centres and rehabilitation centres, will remain functional but no visitors will be allowed.

“We are working with provincial departments to identify available shelters for the homeless to be housed, to get shelter and food, and to get cleaned up.”

Community nutrition and distribution centres and food bands will also be operational in all districts, and food will be delivered to beneficiaries’ homes to limit movement of citizens.

“Lastly, we are mindful that during the lockdown there is likely to be a rise in gender-based violence. Our Gender-Based Command Centre will remain open 24 hours to provide psychosocial support through trained councillors.

The centre is available through SKYPE: HELPMEGBV, toll free number on 0800 428 428 and, to get a call back, dial *120*7867#,” Zulu said.

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