3.5 million-plus people applied for R350 COVID-19 grant, but no explanation for rejected applications

A couple of weeks ago we detailed the application process and conditions of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, which aimed to give R350 a month to those who needed it over the next six months.

Said application process began in earnest at the beginning of the week by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), and now government has detailed how the procedure has been going so far.

Unsurprisingly, a massive number of South Africans have applied, with the Department of Social Development confirming that more than 3.5 million applications were filed within the first three days of the system going live.

“The special COVID-19 SRD Grant is intended to mitigate the undue hardships faced by individuals and families through this difficult time. We are pleased with the intake so far and we urge all eligible individuals to apply on time,” explained Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu.

Breaking down the numbers as of this morning, SASSA says that 3 585 040 applications were received. Of those applications, the largest number of 2 394 949 were made using the USSD (SMS) line the department put in place, with 204 434 done on the website, 485 657 on WhatsApp and 500 00 via email.

Now for the crucial next step in the process, getting the grant to people who need it. SASSA says it’s currently assessing and verifying applications, and will begin notifying applicants whether they qualify from today onwards, with payments also set to start today (15th May).

“The grant is implemented in terms of the existing avenue provided for by the SRD channel, which is administered in accordance with the provisions as set in the Social Assistance Act, 2004. The Department wishes to stress that the first payment file was meant for testing. When the payment system is finalised, more regular payments will be made,” adds the department.

Given the dire need for assistance, the above statement is a little disheartening, especially as the first payment file mentioned proved quite chaotic and glitched at the beginning of the month.

As for finding out whether your grant application was successful or not, the only way applicants will know is whether they are contacted by SASSA to provide their banking details. Other than that, no other communication will be made.

This places unsuccessful applicants in the lurch in our opinion, as they’ll never know their application was denied, which may lead to future applications also being denied as there is no clarity on the part of the department and SASSA.

For a recap of the methods applicants can use for the R350 COVID-19 grant, there are three avenues:

  • WhatsApp – 082 046 8553

• USSD or SMS – *134*7737#

• Email –

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]


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