Over 2 million grant recipients still unpaid
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DURBAN - THE NGO Black Sash says the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has revealed that over 2 million approved Covid-19 Social Relief Distress grant beneficiaries have not received their payments.
In addition, over a million people whose SRD grants applications were approved on appeal, were also still expecting payments.
“That means one person could be waiting to be paid for more than one month. We can safely say that more than 700 000 people were affected by this. The same situation applies to appeals. Appeals can be multiple appeals for the same person and about 200 000 people were affected,” said Paseka Letsatsi, Sassa’s head of communications.
“The necessary authorisations are now in place and Sassa has started releasing payments from the backlog. Everyone whose grants were approved will be paid what’s due to them,” said Letsatsi.
The delay in payments has brought frustration to beneficiaries and has concerned the Black Sash.
“Any outstanding Covid-19 SRD grant payments must be made promptly and in a lump sum.
“It’s gravely concerning that countless Covid-19 SRD beneficiaries, who have zero income to buy food for themselves and their dependants, must suffer as a result of ongoing administrative issues which should have been resolved by now.
“Sassa must communicate to beneficiaries when outstanding payments can be expected,” said Lynette Maart, Black Sash’s national director.
The Department of Social Development reportedly requested funding from the National Treasury in the hope of extending the Covid-19 SRD grant beyond April this year, but the request was denied.
Black Sash sent an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Sassa chief executive Busisiwe Memela-Khambula and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, asking for an extension for the SRD grant.
The letter was sent in April but no response has been received.
“Being unemployed is stressful, especially having gone to university,” said Sanele Mswane, an SRD beneficiary.
“The pandemic has worsened things. Our government is failing us if they fail to try to contribute a little to relieve us from the negative impact of the pandemic.
“The grant helped me buy toiletries and food in the past. Now I must stress once again.”