Sassa takes strain as Covid grant backlog booms

Picture: Minister Lindiwe Zulu / @The_DSD, Twitter
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More than 2.5 million Covid R350 grant applications are being rejected every month by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), where only 10 administrators are dealing with the appeals, reports say.

A Business Insider SA report has revealed that on average, 33% of all Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant applications are rejected every month.

Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, has admitted there is a lack of resources at Sassa, with no dedicated team assigned to handle the appeal process.

Zule said grants administration staff now have the added responsibility of dealing with SRD appeals as there are only 10 core staff members driving the appeal process, with limited support from assistants.

According to the publication, the appeal process is being slowed down by a massive backlog, according to the report, and the under-resourcing and understaffing have been noted by the Auditor General (AG) of South Africa, Tsakani Maluleke.

This week Maluleke raised several red flags around the administering of SRD grants when releasing findings on government’s Covid-19 economic stimulus package.

She expressed concern about Sassa’s control systems, saying the agency’s monthly reports do not make sense.

Sassa reported 60 000 appeals in September, but the same number was quoted again in October, November, and December.

In a media statement released last week, Sassa stated that the Covid-19 grant ends on 31 January 2021. South Africans who believe their applications have been unfairly rejected have until 28 February 2021 to appeal.