The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it has completed testing its WhatsApp registration system to payout the six-month coronavirus grant known as COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant.
Under the grant, jobless South Africans will each receive R350 monthly for six months.
Sassa says on its Twitter page: “The WhatsApp application system for #COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant opened only for testing over the weekend and it’s closed now. We’ll announce the official opening date”.
The WhatsApp application system for #COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant opened only for testing over the weekend and it’s closed now. We’ll announce official opening date #day32oflockdown #coronavirusInSouthAfrica #FreedomDay @GovernmentZA @HealthZA @The_DSD @PostofficeSa pic.twitter.com/dRi9laXbkx
— SASSA (@OfficialSASSA) April 27, 2020
The registration process used the government’s existing COVID-19 WhatsApp line, on 060 012 3456.
See screenshot below:
To curb the spread of COVID-19, the country imposed a 21-day lockdown that has since been extended by two weeks to the end of April.
However, on Thursday last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a five-level plan to ease lockdowns and a R500 billion stimulus package.
The stimulus plan included special grants as part of a temporary 6-month Coronavirus grant.
Within six months, unemployed South Africans would receive R2,100 each.
The special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant will be paid to unemployed individuals that do not receive any other form of a social grant or UIF payment.
The first payment is due in early May.
Last week, Busisiwe Memela, the CEO Sassa, said the organisation will screen COVID-19 special grants applicants against other grant payments databases.
These databases include the SA Revenue Service (Sars), the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
“The system will automatically say whether you qualify or don’t qualify… Then we’ll put you to the back-end and process the payment,” said Memela.
She told Cape Talk radio that unemployed South Africans are going to be using a USSD or a WhatsApp process for them to be able to register for the COVID-19 special grants.
Some of TechFinancials readers have expressed their frustration at the slow pace of the Sassa registration process for the COVID-19 special grants.
“We are eagerly waiting to know the process of registration as most of our people are unable to read and understand,” said one reader.
Another stated: “It’s the 27 April 2020…and we have not received proper directives as to how to apply for the unemployment grant.
“Thanks for everything that you are doing for us. It seems there is a lot of false info out there since it was never mentioned when the application should start. We’ll wait patiently for application details.”