Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says she is concerned for beneficiaries of the R350 grant who have not yet received their payments, but that many processes have to be completed before the R350 grants can be distributed.
In a joint media statement made by many civil society groups such as, the Black Sash, the Institute for Economic Justice, Amandla.mobi #PayTheGrants and the Women in Democracy Initiative the failure by the Department of Social Development to pay the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants has been termed a “National Scandal”.
Applications for the new phase of the R350 grant opened in April 2022 under new regulations as the National State of Disaster came to an end.
This meant that all existing beneficiaries of the R350 grant would have to reapply so that their income and identity could be verified by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in order to determine whether they are eligible for the grant.
Beneficaries who have been approved for the grant have been awaiting their payments for three months and civil society groups have blamed the Department of Social Development for this delay.
The Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu spoke to Radio702 saying that she feels for those who have not received their R350 grant payments, however she believes that it is not her department’s fault but that the processes involved in distributing the funds for Treasury and banks are causing the delay in payments.
According to Zulu, the change in Covid-19 regulations meant that the department had to change their agreements with banks. Zulu says that it is important to follow the processes and systems which ensure that the money is paid to the correct person.
The minister said:
We are really, really sorry that we’ve had to go through this process and it’s taking this long but this money will be paid to the right beneficiaries.
She says that the negotiations with the banks are almost complete as they only have one bank left to negotiate with.
The Minister has assured beneficiaries that the R350 grants will be paid mid-June but that the department cannot commit to a date as negotiations are ongoing with banks.
On the missed payments over the last three months, Zulu said:
We are going to be paying back from the time that people applied, and when they applied they were approved so the payments that will be done will be backdated.