Tag: grant

By Eva Chipa for Jacaranda FM

It has been another day of frustration for applicants of the R350 Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant.

This amid widespread technical difficulties at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).

On Tuesday, both the Sassa website and the WhatsApp channel for applications were not working.

Spokesperson Paseka Lestatsi says the technical glitches are due to the huge influx of applications.

“The system opened last week Friday and we experienced about 2000 applications per minute, the system became very slow, however we can safely says that gov-chat came to the rescue to make sure other platforms are available for applications.”

Letsatsi says Sassa is still moving faster when compared to the previous round of applications.

“An observation we made as well, was that the number of people who managed to successfully go through exceed the number of people who applied when we opened for the first time during lockdown level 5.”

The Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) option for those who don’t have smartphones is also still down.

“The USSD is not available as we speak however we will make an announcement soon in terms of when the USSD line will be up running, we are alert to (the fact) that majority of people do not have access to smartphones, and we will definitely work on the USSD line.”

The WhatsApp line has been restored but to ease pressure on these channels, Sassa announced that applications can also be submitted via an app option called govchat.app and Facebook Messenger.

Online applications for the grant officially opened on Friday, and Sassa says citizens can apply during the whole month of August.

 

TERS benefits extended by 6 weeks

Source: IOL

The South African government has decided to extend the Covid-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits to 15 August 2020.

The benefit was initially meant to run until the end of June.

Last week, in an attempt to stop the fraud that has been taking place from the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s relief scheme, the fund has introduced new and more stringent controls to verify banking details.

According to the Department of Employment and Labour, because of the introduction of the new safety measures, the fund has had to delay payments.

The department said in a statement that over the weekend it had resumed payments and disbursed R372 million of Covid-19 TERS benefit claims.

“The payment covered claims for April and May lodged by 15 866 employers benefiting 78 283 employees for whose banking details passed the verification process. Further payments were done today (July 14) with about R295m paid out from 1 824 employers benefiting 76 078 workers. This brings the total paid to date since April 16 to just under R30 billion (R 29 726 359 618.48) covering 6 789 695 workers from 539 953 employers,” the department said.

The South African government has decided to extend the Covid-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits to 15 August 2020.

As part of the new control measures, the fund has also introduced a new rule to the system that requires applicants to insert either the Enterprise number (CK/CIPC) or the ID number of the bank account holder in the TERS online portal in order to further verify banking details against the authorised claimant.

Although the South African government has put a number of relief measures in place to help those adversely affected by the Covid-19 lockdown, the structures seem to be overwhelmed or not functioning at all.

The week before last, it was reported that not one of the channels for the application to the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant of R350 was functional. More than 4,9-million people have applied for the new grant but on Friday 22 May SASSA’s CEO, Busisiwe Memela-Khambula, confirmed that just ten people had been paid.

The TERS UIF application process caused headaches for many business owners in April. However, applications for the month of May have still not been opened, and the following message is displayed on the website:

A business contacted My Office News with the information that they had received an e-mail stating that:

Companies that are no longer in full lockdown from 1 May cannot apply for this relief fund. This option is only available if your company is still in full lockdown with no operations taking place.

This means that, although many companies will need financial assistance due to a lost of customers or rule changes during Level 4, they will not be able to access it.

The Reserve Bank partnered with National Treasury and large private banks to launch a R200-billion loan guarantee scheme, which aimed to extend loans to businesses with an annual turnover of less than R300-million for operational expenses.

However, businesses have to apply within a number of metrics set forth by the bank in question, and many are finding that the other available relief funds such as SAFT do not cover the salaries of employers, only employees.

R350 Covid-19 grant channels do not work

By Phillip de Wet for Business Insider SA

None of the channels set up to accept applications for the special Covid-19 unemployment grant of R350 work reliably – and some do not work at all.

The R350 grants, formally know as Social Relief of Distress (SRD) payments, are due to be paid starting on 15 May – for those registered in time – and will run until October, for a total of R2 100 due to recipients. Up to six million South Africans are believed to be eligible.

The SA Social Security Agency’s website is not available, its WhatsApp system is not responsive, and its email system is unusable on most platforms.

A promised SMS system does not appear to be in place, and there is no sign of a Facebook Messenger channel.

But if you stay up late enough, USSD will eventually work, our testing shows.

There’s a workaround, however, and that is to go directly to https://srd.sassa.gov.za/sc19/auth

No physical applications are accepted at Sassa offices, and though the agency and its minister has promised fieldworkers will go out to those without access to technology, that is not yet happening.

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