Social grant payments for the elderly and people with disabilities is in full swing as South Africa enters Day 4 of the 21-day lockdown to curb COVID-19.
In preparation for the lockdown, social security agency – SASSA – announced that grants for the elderly and people with disabilities will be paid from 30 – 31 March 2020.
The Social security agency’s decision to pay grants earlier is in response to the State of National Disaster, as announced by President Ramaphosa on 15 March 2020.
On Monday, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, together with SASSA CEO Totsie Memela, Acting MEC Panyaza Lesufi and Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, visited SASSA pay points around Gauteng to ensure that precautions are in place for the protection of beneficiaries against COVID-19.
By 9:30am on Monday morning, SASSA said about R1 million in grants had been paid at Post Offices, ATMs and retail stores.
Grant beneficiaries collecting their grants observed good hygiene by washing hands and social distancing protocols by maintaining 1 metre distance from each other or more.
Transport to accommodate social grant payments
Ahead of payment of social grants, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula amended the public transport directions under the National State of Disaster.
“Following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the days social grants would be paid, a number of industry bodies have made representations on the relaxation of hours [in which] public transport vehicles are allowed to operate,” said the Minister on Sunday.
Under the current lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, public modes of transport are allowed to operate from 5am – 9am and again from 4pm – 8pm.
As of Monday, these hours were upscaled to accommodate grant beneficiaries.
“Effective from tomorrow, 30 March 2020 until Friday, 3 April 2020, buses and taxis will be permitted to operate from 5am until 8pm in order to cater to the transportation needs of society’s most vulnerable,” said Mbalula.
A similar request to relax the hours was made by the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu.
“Having considered Minister Zulu’s request and representations made by various industry bodies, including the taxi industry, I have decided to amend the Public Transport Directions in order to accommodate grant beneficiaries,” said Mbalula.
Other beneficiaries will be able to access their grants from 1 April 2020. – SAnews.gov.za