Black Sash welcomes Sassa’s new online portal for grant applications
Cape Town – Human rights activist group the Black Sash has welcomed the South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) launch of an online application portal to apply for certain social grants.
The pilot project started yesterday and will continue until next week Friday. It will enable applicants to apply for child support, older persons and foster child grants on the site.
Applications can be lodged via https://services.sassa.gov.za, which is a secure website.
If the new system is successful, other grants will also be added to the portal.
“This should be a relief to grant applicants as it will save them the inconvenience of standing in queues at Sassa offices in order to apply for their grants.
“The added advantage is that the convenience of online applications eliminates the risk of being infected with the Covid-19 virus because there will be no need to gather at public places in order to apply.
“This remote self-service will be possible on both a computer and a mobile phone,” Sassa said.
According to the agency the turnaround time is 10 days, provided the applicant supplies all the necessary documents including identity documents and banking details. Required supporting documents to be attached must be certified by a Commissioner of Oaths.
To access this service, applicants need to have an email address to sign up and to be able to log-in for further services.
“Feedback will be sent through SMS notification to applicants with no email addresses and an email response will be sent to applicants choosing to be contacted by email. A receipt will be generated when the application is completed,” Sassa said.
Black Sash national director Lynette Maart said Sassa’s initiative was a step in the right direction as long as the option to also make applications in person at local branches remained.
“The Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant provided many lessons on the limitations and challenges for digital platforms for social assistance applications.
“These challenges include the limited ICT infrastructure in peri-urban and rural communities. Many prospective applicants don’t have smartphones or laptops,” she said.