South Africa: Briefing Notes from Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu

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Following the President’s announcement on July 25, 2021 where the President mentioned the reintroduction of the Distress Social Assistance Grant, the Minister of Social Development held a media availability on August 4, 2021. The Minister has mentioned that the first iteration of the Covid-19 Social Relief Grant has played an important role in reducing the hunger and vulnerability of poor households and added that it has been successful in reducing poverty and inequality.

In this new iteration, the Minister predicted that the Ministry of Social Development was allocated R26.7 billion, which includes administrative costs borne by SASSA, and this will be disbursed for a period of 8 months. from August 2021 to March 2022.

The grant application will be made through online and digital platforms according to the first iteration which has proven to be successful. The minister also mentioned that the majority of previous claims were made to men between the ages of 18 and 35 and in order to address the gender imbalance, the grant has now been opened to include caregivers, the majority of whom are women.

Application channels will be open from August 6, 2021 and the first payment is expected to be made during the last week of August 2021.

Eligibility criteria

A distress social assistance grant of R350 per month is payable to a person who is:

  • a South African citizen, permanent resident or refugee registered in the Home Affairs database and persons who are holders of special permits under the Angolan special waiver, Lesotho exemption permit waiver and waiver Zimbabwe exemption permit, and asylum seekers whose Section 22 permits or visa are valid;
  • currently residing within the borders of the Republic of South Africa
  • over 18 and under 60
  • unemployed
  • not receiving any social allowance in his regard
  • does not receive unemployment insurance benefits and is not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits
  • not receive an allowance from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme and other financial aid
  • receiving no further government support for the COVID-19 response
  • not reside in a government funded or subsidized institution

Anyone who previously applied must reapply. This will allow the ministry to assess their eligibility as it did in the previous period, and all requests will be processed as new requests each month. However, each candidate only needs to apply once – thereafter, the application will be reviewed monthly.

All applications will therefore be made electronically / digitally and one of the following frontline application channels can be used:

  • First, through the website at;
  • Via our WhatsApp line on 082 046 8553; Where
  • USSD line * 134 * 7737 #

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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