According to Sassa, the Special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant payments will be processed this week. After two months of delay, recipients will finally be able to receive their payments.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) established the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant to aid individuals who had lost their employment and were the most needy in the country. Many individuals rely on the R350 grant, and social groups have been urging that it be implemented permanently since it was first adopted. The need for a permanent stipend stems from the country’s high poverty and unemployment rates.

Payments on R350 grants have been delayed for almost two months, affecting at least 11 million people. Fortunately, grant payments are expected to begin this week. Recipients will get back pay beginning in April, according to Sassa. Payment delays, on the other hand, have left many beneficiaries without a source of income.

“We have been surviving on the R350 grant since we can’t get employment. These past two months have been so difficult because it [the grant] has been helpful in buying certain essentials, now because we haven’t been paid it has not been easy,” said a beneficiary.

Beneficiaries also want the government to enhance the SRD grant since R350 is insufficient to meet all of the month’s basic necessities, especially as the cost of commodities continues to rise. Approximately 15 million individuals have benefited from the grant, however social activists claim that as a result of additional terms added to the programme’s updated regulations, the number of recipients has steadily declined.

Social activists have stated that fewer individuals are receiving the grant as not everyone has access to devices to apply online, a number of documents are required, and those with more than R350 in their bank account are disqualified even though they may have received the money from family members.

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