The DA on Friday called on Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to come up with a temporary plan to support recipients of the R350 Covid-19 relief grant who did not receive their payments at the end of March.
This is after the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) on Thursday blamed the delay in payments for the months of March and April 2021 on the transition in the government’s financial years.
DA social development spokesperson Bridget Masango said the solution Sassa provided was that recipients would receive double of their payments at the end of April.
The agency apologized to millions of South Africans affected by the break in the payments, saying it was busy attending to the delay.
The relief grant was introduced by the government in March last year in order to offset the economic effects of the Covid-19 lockdown on millions of South Africans who had their livelihoods upended by the pandemic.
“Sassa would like to apologize for this break in payments and would like to reassure all deserving applicants for the relief grant who have been affected that payments will be made as soon as the administrative processes have been completed,” said Sassa chief executive Totsie Memela in a statement.
Six million grant recipients did not receive their R350 grant for the month of March, according to Masango.
She criticized the department saying its solution does not consider the fact that these recipients rely on the grant each month as it is their only form of subsistence.
“Sassa knew when the change in their financial year would take place well before the transition date. A contingency plan should have been devised and extra resources allocated to make provisions for additional tasks that needed to be completed during this time. This could have prevented such delays and supported desperate recipients through these tough times.
“This is yet another instance of Sassa and the Department of Social Development failing our country’s most vulnerable citizens. The DA finds it simply unacceptable,” Masango said in a statement.
Administrative tasks required
Meanwhile, Memela said the end of March is the end of the financial year for the government and various administrative tasks are required before any payments relating to the previous financial year can be made.
She said Sassa received confirmation of the extension of the R350 relief grant on 11 February 2021 after its administration systems had been closed at the end of January 2021.
The systems were then reactivated immediately on receiving confirmation of the funding extension and the application channel was again operational as from 13 February, Memela said.
“A total of 86,363 new applications were received for February alone. Every one of the more than 10 million applications for this grant are validated on a monthly basis to ensure that payments are made to applicants who qualify.
“Payments for February were thus made at the end of February and early March. The applications for March were validated as usual after the payments for February had been completed, but could not be extracted for payment before 31 March 2021.”
In other news – More touching photos of AKA during Nelli’s funeral service
Anele ‘Nelli’ Tembe was laid to rest at Lala Kahle Cemetery in Hillcrest, west of Durban on Friday, 16 April.
Her funeral service was held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre and was attended by her fiance AKA, family, close friends, artists and business people. The service only had two speakers and was characterized by choral music. Learn More