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20 Years of Freedom and Democracy
Social relief distress grant applications open
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) will today open the process for applications of the R350 Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant for unemployed people.
The amount will be paid to qualifying applications from May – October 2020.

“With regards to the Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant, we have gone back, re-looked at our systems and have strengthened the modus operandi. We believe we are ready to open the process today,” SASSA Chief Executive Officer Busisiwe Memela-Khambula said.

Speaking at a virtual media briefing on Monday, Memela-Khambula said technology will be used to deliver services. “Over time, we will be able to extend support to those people who will not have access to technology. It is very important to note that for us to deliver a service that is efficient; we are going have to use technology even in areas that are far flung. We are going to get people to offer support in those areas,” she said.
She emphasised that SASSA would remain vigilant to avoid a situation where people try to defraud the system.

The requirement of proof of address for the grant appliction has fallen away, but applicants must still provide their residential address.
The grant forms part of the R500 billion economic and social relief measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last month.

Applicants must be:
  • Above the age of 18;
  • Unemployed;
  • Not receiving any income;
  • Not receiving any social grant;
  • Not receiving any unemployment insurance benefit and does not qualify to receive unemployment insurance benefits;
  • Not be receiving a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme; and
  • Not resident in a government funded or subsidised institution.
Prospective applicants will need to provide the following compulsory information for processing of their applications: 
  • Identity Number;
  • Name and surname as captured in the ID (and initials);
  • Gender and disability;
  • Banking details - bank name and account number; 
  • Contact details - cell phone number; 
  • Residential address;
An applicant can send a WhatsApp message to 082 0468 553 or USSD line (sms) *134*7737# or e-mail to
SASSA officials return to work

.Meanwhile, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has gazetted that 30% of SASSA officials return to work on a rotational basis to continue to render social services.
“We know that our offices were closed and this has impacted a number of people not being able to receive our services. The services will exist from this week, limited services will be provide at our local offices, our district and regional offices did not close on Level 5,” said Memela-Khambula.

She said that SASSA offices will progressively open from Monday 11 May. “We will progressively open from today in order to protect the most vulnerable of members of society.”
Monday and Tuesday will be used to receive applications from older persons with priority being given to those who have just turned 60. On Wednesday and Thursday, applications for child support grant and foster care grants will be accepted.

Priority will be given to caregivers with babies and in instances where a caregiver income circumstances have changed. “I wish to appeal to caregivers not to bring children to our offices. Please leave children home but make sure that you bring all the required documents. Home Affairs will be able to provide support in terms of birth certificates,” said Memela-Khambula. 


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