The CEO of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Busisiwe Memela-Khambula finally provided clarity on the payment of COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants in a video statement on Friday, 17 June.
R350 GRANT PAYMENTS TO BE MADE FROM 22 JUNE
The SRD grant, which is better known as the R350 grant, has not been paid to its millions of beneficiaries for the last two months.
Memela-Khambula’s statement provided clarity and dates for the payments.
The key takeaways are:
- R350 grant payments for June will be made from 22 June 2022
- The April backlog payments will be made in July 2022.
- The May backlog payments will be made in August 2022.
- From August onwards, monthly payments should resume as per usual.
- R350 grant reconsideration payments are currently underway.
What Busisiwe Memela-Khambula said in full:
SASSA has now started addressing payment challenges around the reconsideration applicants. By the end of this week, a million of them will have already received what’s due to them.
Let’s be clear, the payments process this week is for everyone who appealed the declined applications from August to November 2021.
It takes about two working days for payments to be reflected in the bank accounts. We appeal to clients to please provide SASSA with their bank account details to enable us to pay them into their own accounts.
We will also be sending clients who were approved for reconsideration without a bank account an SMS to request them to upload this.
The extension of the grant for a further period of 12 months was announced in February 2022. However, before the extension could be implemented the legislative framework had to be changed given the lifting of the COVID-19 National State of Disaster.
The grant’s legislative foundation had to be moved from the Disaster Management Act to the Social Assistance Act of 2004.
This amendment was published in April 2022 and application channels opened on the 23rd of April 2022.
In this new iteration, one of the conditions of the allocations was to address concerns raised about inclusion and exclusion errors and also to ensure that we stay within the budget allocation of R44 billion.
To achieve this, we implemented a means-test by checking income in people’s bank accounts. Previously, this was done in small scale for those who appealed. We have now implemented this for all the COVID-19 SRD applications upfront.
This required an extensive procurement process with banks, which has caused some delays in getting the system up and running.
The final stages of signing contracts with the various banks has been wrapped up and data exchanges between SASSA and the banks continue.
This means the payment for the new applications will start next week – that is on the 22nd of June 2022.
This is how this will happen: In the month of June 2022, we will pay for this month’s SRD R350 grant. In July we will start with the backlog starting with April assessments and May outstanding [payments] will be paid in August.
We expect August to be on track to pay monthly grants beyond this period.