Bank deposits an option for Covid-19 grant recipients
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DURBAN - LONG queues, no physical distancing or masks is a common sight outside post offices when beneficiaries collect or apply for the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, something Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu had been urged to address.
In a written parliamentary question, The UDM’s Nqabayomzi Kwankwa asked Zulu what measures she had in place to ensure money was deposited straight into beneficiaries’ bank accounts to curb long queues; whether Covid-19 protocols were observed in the queues, and beneficiaries received full payment.
Zulu said to address challenges experienced in the previous cycle of the R350 SRD grant, the process had changed to allow all applicants to provide banking details with their application and not only when the application was approved.
“Information provided as of August 18, 2021, is that of the 8 931 375 applications received, 6 817 229 (76%) have provided information on bank accounts. This information still has to be verified to confirm which accounts can be used for the grant to be paid into,” Zulu said.
She said in cases where bank account details were not provided, the SA Social Security Agency was obliged to effect payment through the SA Post Office. Engagements with the post office and Postbank have been held to introduce alternative access channels for funds deposited into the accounts held by Postbank on behalf of the post office.
This will allow for funds to be collected at participating merchants and Standard Bank ATMs. While this solution has yet to be tested, it is believed that it will significantly reduce the number of recipients who report in-person at post offices.
Zulu said there were bank charges for beneficiaries that used bank accounts but if they were paid through the post office, they had access to their full grant.
She said the post office confirmed that they would stagger payments according to the last three digits of the ID number of beneficiaries, to reduce the number of people reporting to a single post office on a single day, and that they would employ queue monitors to ensure compliance with Covid-19 protocols.
Meanwhile, police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said nine men, aged between 25 and 38, were arrested for robbing a pension paypoint at Gunjaneni in KwaMsane, northern KwaZulu-Natal on Friday morning.
The heist was carried out by a gang of about 15 men who had held up employees and security guards. The men shot one of the guards in the leg before fleeing with a large sum of money, four firearms belonging to security guards and a vehicle they had stolen at the pay point.
Seven of the men were arrested on Saturday, four firearms were seized, three belonging to the security guards, and four vehicles were seized, including the one stolen from the paypoint.
Immediately after the robbery, two men fleeing in a vehicle were stopped and arrested.
One of the men was a constable, 25, from Hlabisa police station and his state firearm was seized.
The men were arrested for armed robbery and attempted murder pending further investigation, and they were expected to appear in court soon.
More arrests were expected.