COVID-19 relief package: Payment system still being tested

    The range of new South African banknotes, featuring the smiling face of iconic statesman Nelson Mandela, with Five Rand and Two Rand coins.

    CAPE TOWN – The first set of social relief distress grants worth R350 will be paid out in early May.

    But it remains unclear who will qualify and how the payments will be made.

    Parliament heard that an online system to handle these grant applications is currently being tested.

    “It’s one of the top priorities we must deal with, ourselves, Sassa and Treasury, we will need to deal with this as quickly as we possibly can,” said Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.

    “I can guarantee you, we are going to be under tremendous pressure because people are hungry.”

    Sassa says it hopes to use the same system it’s currently testing to pay social distress grants in vouchers or electronically. This will replace food parcels.

    MPs say they are concerned about what’s going to happen when the relief period is over and the grants are reduced again.

    They want to see the social development department come up with a long-term relief plan for those in need.

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