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Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant on Track

June 4, 2020

Department of Social Development

At the end of May 2020, 116 867 clients had received the Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant.

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) confirmed this in a statement on the payment of the grant.

The department added that, to date, over 3,5 million applicants were checked to confirm if they are either active SASSA grant recipients, are on the UIF database or receive an NSFAS stipend.

According to the SASSA CEO, Busisiwe Memela, SASSA has “received approximately 13 million enquiries/applications about the temporary special COVID-19 SRD grant as at Monday, 25 May 2020. About 6.3 million of these were valid complete applications. The rest were either duplicate applications, incomplete, had inconsistent data, or were just pure enquiries”.

SASSA pointed out that approximately 1 236 492 clients are being finalised through verification by SARS to confirm if they have an income; 666 381 clients have been approved and over 1 597 127 have been disapproved since the applicants have some or other means of income.

SASSA highlighted that the increase of the child support grant by R300 per child in May 2020 and an additional R500 per caregiver from June to October 2020 had been implemented.

“All other existing grants were increased by R250 per month from May to October 2020 (except for Grant in Aid).”

In a recent briefing during a virtual meeting in parliament, SASSA reiterated that the Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant will be in place for six months.

In another briefing on the social development department and its entities M&E and supervisory plans aimed at effective implementation of the Food Distribution Programme, the department indicated that recent evidence is suggesting high incidences of food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition in South Africa.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, “food security has become a national crisis with some evidence suggesting that roughly 50% of our population is food insecure or at risk of food insecurity”.

The department was also engaging with various partners and conducting analysis on the best models for efficient systems to track and report on food distribution and measure the impact thereof.