In the midst of the disaster left by the floods in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, SASSA has provided Social Relief Distress (SRD) to more than 3 000 affected individuals, to the tune of almost R5 million.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has also purchased uniforms for learners to the value of R372 000, targeting flood victims in eThekwini and iLembe Districts.
This was announced by the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster at a briefing on Thursday, led by Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, accompanied by the Ministers of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga and Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu.
The National Department of Social development (DSD) and its provincial offices have been engaging with corporates and stakeholders to provide support in the form of urgent humanitarian relief for affected areas. The department has two dedicated storage facilities in Pietermaritzburg and Dube Trade Port in Durban.
Speaking at the briefing, Phaahla said many organisations, churches and community members have answered the call and provided support in a variety of forms, including cash, food, clothes, sanitary towels - to mention a few.
“Government also received donations and pledges from various countries through their embassies, which is welcomed with much appreciation,” he said.
Zulu has visited Ndwedwe (Ward 15 and 17) and Mandeni Local Municipalities in iLembe District to engage with communities, and provide SRD and support.
Similarly, Social Development Deputy Minister, Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu, visited KwaNkosi Ngcobo and eMaqadini.
In the Western Cape, SASSA continues to provide support to the more than 765 people affected by the fire in Langa, as well as the 30 people affected in Gugulethu.
Phaahla said support, in the form of hot meals, blankets, mattresses and dignity packs, has been provided.
While the focus of the briefing was meant to be about government’s response to the disaster, Phaahla said they thought it important to include some input on the much-anticipated COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant of R350.
He said having reviewed some of the media comments over weekend, they felt it important to add it to this briefing to clarify and address some of the concerns that have been expressed.
During his State of the Nation Address, the President announced that the R350 Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant will be extended for the period of a year, to March 2023.
Phaahla said the Social Department anticipated the end to the National State of Disaster and embarked on developing the regulatory framework for the payment of the COVID-19 SRD, within the legal provisions of the Social Assistance legislative framework.
“In February this year, the department published the regulations for public comments. We know that we reduced this period for public comments a bit to accommodate the shortened time period we had. We wish to thank all the contributors and participants for their fruitful inputs and helpful comments, which went a long way to enhance the regulations,” he said.
Unfortunately, he said the process for developing regulations took longer than expected, but the department has now finally come to the end of this process and proclaimed the regulations on 22 April 2022.
With the application portal on the SASSA website having opened on 23 April 2022, Phaahla said government encourages everyone who needs the grant to apply within the remaining few days of the month.
“We are a bit concerned that just under seven million applications have been received, as we were hoping to receive at least 12 million applications by the end of the month.
“Our systems have been coping very well with the applications thus far, as we’ve been receiving about one million applications per day, which is about double the volumes we’ve seen in the previous iterations,” he said.
Prospective applicants can apply using the SASSA website at https://srd.sassa.gov.za. This include people who were receiving the grant previously.
“Firstly, many people want to know whether or not they should reapply for the COVID SRD. Given that this form of COVID SRD will now be provided for within a new legislative framework, and that additional qualifying and assessment criteria have been added, those in need of assistance will need to apply for the grant, or reapply if they were already receiving the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress provided for under the disaster management framework,” Phaahla said.
Government will be retaining its digital platforms for the application process in order to enable millions of people to apply in a relatively short space of time.
All applicants are reminded that they will be considered for the grant from the month in which the application is lodged, meaning that all applications lodged in April will be considered as from April.
“I am appealing to all South Africans in need of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress to embrace this opportunity and apply.
“There are still three days left to the end of the month. Our application channels are available 24 hours a day and can handle very high volumes,” the Minister said.
SASSA’s call centre will be opened to assist and process enquiries. It can be reached on 0800 60 10 11. – SAnews.gov.za