The DA has called on social development minister Lindiwe Zulu to allow for payment of the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant for existing beneficiaries without them having to reapply for it.
In a statement, DA MP Bridget Masango said SRD beneficiaries were receiving the short end of the stick due to legal technicalities and delays.
“What is concerning however, is that those who have previously applied and qualified for their SRD grant will have to reapply. This announcement comes close to three weeks after many were set to receive their grants for the month of April,” said Masango.
She said the burden on Sassa to process all SRD grants is great and will only cause further delays in delivery.
“Such delays cannot occur in the new applications process of the SRD grants. Sassa must therefore consider the delivery of existing grants where beneficiaries have already been vetted and verified,” she said.
The department said since the national state of disaster was lifted in April, it has endeavoured to develop the regulatory framework for the payment of the grant within the social assistance legislation.
“Given that the Covid-19 SRD will now be provided for under a new legislative framework, and additional qualifying and assessment criteria will be added, those in need of assistance will have to apply for the Covid-19 SRD, or reapply if they were previously in receipt of this grant.
“Fortunately, the entire application system remains a purely digital process, thereby enabling quick access and turnaround times. The application system will be opened at 12am on Saturday April 23,” said the department.
Applications can be lodged on this website.
Speaking on SAfm, Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said no new grant applications would be processed until regulations have been amended and the grant is shifted from the Disaster Management Act to the Social Assistance Act.
He said the shift would not affect payments of those who have already been approved.
“It is just an administrative arrangement that we are confident will be resolved and not leave people behind. We don’t want people to panic,” said Letsatsi.