The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) is currently not taking new applications for the R350 Covid-19 relief grant.
This is according to Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi, who said the agency is waiting on directives from social development minister Lindiwe Zulu.
Letsatsi told Cape Talk on Wednesday that Sassa was not able to take new applications until it gets the green light from Zulu, who is set to issue directives in this regard by Friday at the latest.
“The long and short of it is, we are not taking new applications,” said Letsatsi. “This is not because we do not want to take new applications. We just have to get the directives from the minister in terms of the processes and methods.”
The R350 Covid-19 relief grant was extended last week by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his economic reconstruction and recovery plan address.
Ramaphosa said the grant would be extended by another three months after the initial end-date, which was the end of October. The relief grant was meant for unemployed citizens and qualifying foreign citizens during the lockdown.
“As these and other recovery measures are being rolled out, we need to do everything in our means to provide support to those in society who continue to face hunger and distress,” said Ramaphosa.
“We will therefore be extending the special Covid-19 grant by a further three months. This will maintain a temporary expansion of social protection and allow the labour market sufficient time to recover.”
According to a BusinessLIVE report, finance minister Tito Mboweni said the extension of the grant will cost about R6bn. The money will be found in the budgets of other government programmes by reprioritising spending and not by increasing overall state expenditure.
Earlier this month, Zulu promised that outstanding R350 Covid relief grants will be paid to approved applicants on time.
Speaking on SABC News, she said applicants who have been approved can rest assured they will receive their payments.
“Let me assure the public and the people who made applications that came out [showing] that they deserve to receive the money, they will still receive that money even if the grant is ending.
“Those that deserve to be paid are still going to be paid because we budgeted for that and agreed that we will extend on the basis of payment of those who had applied,” said Zulu.
Zulu also assured that applicants who won their appeals after they were rejected will still be paid.