Government to ramp up efforts at poverty hotspots

Lindiwe Zulu Minister - Government to ramp up efforts at poverty hotspots

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says her department has pinpointed the poverty hotspots in the country and will work with NGOs to assist communities in need as the country battles the coronavirus. Zulu was addressing the media in Pretoria.

She says the R350 Special COVID-19 relief grant will include payments to asylum seekers. In June, the High Court in Pretoria ordered government to include asylum seekers and special permit holders from Angola, Lesotho and Zimbabwe as recipients of the grant.

Stricter regulations have also now been put in place – including the return on the ban of alcohol sales and an evening curfew – from 9pm to 4am.

Minister Zulu says South Africans should come together to work in a sustainable way to ensure that the food is provided for all South Africans.

“Hunger is hunger, we are informed by Stats SA and of course money is not enough for anyone but it is always a negotiation and the bottom line is that for us as the department is the issue of hunger. We need to respond in the same way we have responded to COVID-19. Those people in poor communities they want to improve their situations, they just need us to help them.”

 Payments

Social Security Agency CEO Busisiwe Memela-Khambula says R1 billion was paid to applicants who applied for the R350 COVID-19 social grant in May. This comes as many unemployed South Africans say they’ve have been wrongly declined the grant, despite meeting the criteria.

The grant forms part of the government’s COVID-19 relief package aimed specifically at assisting citizens who do not have any form of income. Memela- Khambula says people who are without any source of income – and who applied for the grant – should check the SASSA website or use other methods to contact them.

“Anybody who has not received any response the important thing is to either to go to our website and check your status. The other way is to go to the WhatsApp line and once you’ve typed the number 082 046 8553 it will give you two lines then check your status you’ll be able to see whether your application is pending, approved or declined,” she says.

Earlier in July, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) said some of the R350 COVID-19 social relief grant applicants were likely to get their payments soon.

The agency said after reviewing some of the declined cases, they found that up to 85% of those, who were initially rejected because they had received or qualified for the Unemployment Insurance Fund,  actually qualify.

More than 3 million South Africans have applied for the special grant.

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