Sassa R350 grant must be made permanent - SACP

Citizens waiting for SASSA (PHOTO:GALLO IMAGES)
Citizens waiting for SASSA (PHOTO:GALLO IMAGES)
  • The SACP wants the R350 Covid-19 social distress relief grant to become a permanent feature. 
  • The six-month special grant was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April and is administered by the SA Social Security Agency.
  • After the agency was criticised last month for only managing to pay 10 people during a trial run, this week it announced the payment of R350 to more than 100 000 people.

The SA Communist Party (SACP) wants the R350 Covid-19 social distress relief grant paid to unemployed citizens permanently as opposed to the six-month planned period.

The call came during an alliance secretariat press briefing attended by alliance partners the ANC, SACP and Cosatu on Zoom on Thursday, said SACP national spokesperson Alex Mashilo.

On Friday, Mashilo confirmed to News24 that: "As part of the alliance, the SACP has proposed that South Africa should consider a minimum income support grant, especially taking into account long-term structural unemployment where the unemployed do not have any form of a grant or are not covered by the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

"We are saying, let us look at this proposal, also considering the fact that we need to build a comprehensive social security system."

The six-month special grant was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April and is administered by the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa).

Called for comment, Sassa spokesperson Kgomoco Diseko said what the SACP was proposing was a policy matter dealt with by the national Department of Social Development.

Social development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said: "Department of Social Development is not in a position to make the grant permanent now. We only have funding for 6 months. Only Treasury can answer that. We can implement what we have funding for."

 READ | Only 10 people paid R350 unemployment Sassa grant during trial run

After the agency was criticised last month for only managing to pay 10 people during a trial run, this week it announced the payment of R350 to more than 100 000 people.

Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said by 31 May, 116 867 clients were paid.

To date, more than 3.5 million people have been checked to confirm if they are active Sassa grant recipients, are on UIF database or receive a NSFAS stipend.

Sassa CEO Busisiwe Memela said: "We have received approximately 13 million enquiries/applications about the Special Covid-19 SRD grant as at Monday 25 May 2020.

"About 6.3 million of these were valid complete applications. The rest were either duplicate applications, incomplete, had inconsistent data or were just pure enquiries."

ALSO READ | You can now check up on a R350 Sassa grant – and see if someone else has been paid

Memela said about 1 236 492 clients were being finalised through verification by SARS to confirm if they have an income; 666 381 clients have been approved and Sassa was awaiting banking details and more than 1 597 127 have been rejected since the applicants have some or other means of income.

"Applicants are reminded to respond immediately to the SMS received from Sassa and provide their banking details through the secure link.

"This will enable Sassa to ensure payments are processed without delay to all eligible applicants. Citizens are reminded that there is no cut-off date for applications for this special relief grant. Anyone who meets the qualifying criteria, should lodge an application without delay." 

Beneficiaries can also check the status of their applications online on https://srd.sassa.gov.za/sc19/status or by adding GovChat WhatsApp on 082 046 8553, open chat, type "Status" and Send.

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