Calls For SASSA To Make R350 Grant Permanent
Calls have been made from South Africans to make the R350 grant, or something like it, permanent outside of lockdown. SASSA has, on the other side, not paid millions who qualify for the grant. This, as reports came that the grant was paid to thousands who should not have qualified in the first place.
The Pay The Grants Campaign have called for SASSA to make a social grant for unemployed persons between 18 and 59 years old a permanant thing. Some individuals across South Africa have still not received their R350 grants from SASSA and it's been months since the relief grant was launched. This has lead the disappointment in the agency to grow.
As of 31 July, SASSA had paid R19,6 billion in social grants. By August, SASSA paid over 4.4 million people. However, between 8 and 15 million people qualified to receive the grant leaving millions out from receiving the Special Relief Distress (SRD) grant, this was according to the Pay The Grants campaign.
The Pay The Grants campaign was launched through the Cash Transfers group set up by the C19 People's Coalition and is there to give a voice to people who are being left out or who are being left to now wait for months for something to survive on.
They have said:
In August, SASSA acknowledged that over 8 million applications had been received, showing that the need for assistance is almost double what has been rolled out thus far. It is also unclear whether the 4.4 million people have been paid for all months in which they qualify, or if this merely represents a headcount.
It is recognised that SASSA has made improvements in their systems and their ways of dealing with grants, however, "relief measures have been extremely slow and full of challenges, translating into widespread hunger for months on end".
What the Pay The Grants campaign wants is for SASSA to be more transparent in reporting the numbers of applicants, how many of them were approved and how consistent payments have been since this grant was ready to be rolled out.
They stated that this is the first time in our country's history where people who fall between 18 and 59 years old who are unemployed can get state assistance under the social grant system. They are also asking of Government to introduce a permanent form of income guarantee outside of lockdown. From this SRD grant, it's seen that "a basic income guarantee is within the state’s reach," said the campaign.
It was also found that more than 30 000 payments for the R350 grant offered by SASSA were made to people who were not in need and were receiving other forms of equipment as well. The Auditor-General's report, which was ordered by the President, showed that billions of rands were generated in fraudulent activities.
This 30 000 payments amounted to around R10.5 billion and was found to benefit individuals employed in government or individuals who received other incomes which could include social grants, government pension, UIF payments and other relief assistance, said the Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu.
Makwetu concluded his statement by saying, "Even in the midst of a crisis, transparency and accountability for government spending to the benefit of citizens cannot take a backseat”.
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