The South African Social Security Agency has received about five million applications for the R350 special Covid-19 grant. This was revealed by the Department of Social Development’s acting director-general Linton Mchunu.
Department of Social Development’s acting director-general Linton Mchunu updated the public on Thursday that they had started processing 2.6 million applications that were complete. The other batch in excess of 2 million application, had yet to be processed.
SASSA payments were doled out in April while the agency was still testing the payment system. Mchunu said the department had used a batch of 75 000 applications during their trial run. In that batch, 39 000 applications which were verified through SARS were found to be people drawing salaries as at April.
The delays that has had many South Africans who are in desperate need frustrated is caused by people who know, as advised by the initial cirteria that they don’t qualify for the grant, but continue to apply.
Mchunu said the verification process had saved the government R13.6 million which would have been wrongly paid to the culprits each month. This figure would have ballooned to R81m over the six month special Covid-19 grant period.
The government is doing thorough search to see who does and doesn’t qualify for the grant, and the sadly, the more ineligible people apply it’s the longer the payments will take. Fortunately, this is only one time verification, thereafter payment s will be made automatically on the system.
SASSA chief executive Busisiwe Memela-Khambula told MPs there had been delays to pay the grants due to verification of the applicants. She said they needed to ascertain if they were not receiving other social grants and UIF benefits. Memela-Khambula added they planned to pay out 300 000 continuously every two days after verification of applications.
The payment structures remained as they were when the announcement was made. The Grant for qualifying beneficiaries will be paid via bank accounts, e-wallet or Post Bank.
Memela-Khambula also said they were looking in the long term at using vouchers and that they had received about 50 000 unsolicited bids which would go through the normal procurement process.
The verification of vouchers could cause another delay on processing. At this point it’s only a waiting game. At least applications are being processed. The only problem is the people who know they don’t qualify but still continue to apply.