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Sassa Urged To Improve SRD Grant Services In Rural Areas

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It is estimated that more than 40% of South Africa’s population are recipients of a social grant from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). However questions have been raised around the ability of the agency to deliver services effectively in rural areas.

The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant is the only support mechanism available to unemployed adults in South Africa. The grant benefits more than 10 million people.

Sassa has faced criticism for their use of an online application system, which SRD grant applicants are required to use when applying for the grant. They faced questions around the fact that many of the grant’s applicants may not have access to a smartphone and may not be able to afford data needed to apply.

The agency disputed this and said that most people have access to the internet and warned that taking SRD applications at their offices could result in their system crashing. They add that clients can apply using a smartphone or a normal cell phone.

Volunteers are available to assist clients when applying for their grant. Clients are also advised to find their nearest councillor community worker who can assist with locating and identify where the nearest volunteers are stationed in their community to assist them with SRD grant applications.

The Department of Social Development has been working with non-government organisations across the country, to assist applicants without cell phones with their online applications.

Sassa also faced criticism after it was revealed that the South African Post Office (SAPO) will no longer distribute the R350 grant.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) called for the reinstatement of SAPO as a distributor of the grant. This is because the union believes the post office is more accessible in rural towns and communities which may not have supermarkets currently contracted to distributed the SRD grant.

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