NATIONAL NEWS - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) said they would be fully operational on Level 3 and this would increase their human resource capacity so that payments are made quicker than it is the case of Level 4 regulations.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Sassa said they have made progress in preparing for the payment of large numbers of the Covid-19 social relief grant payments, with about 75,000 applications processed so far for the R350 unemployment relief grant.
Sassa acknowledges that the WhatsApp system for applications was flooded with unprecedented numbers of applications per hour, which it struggled to cope with but had to move to other platforms like their website and unstructured supplementary service data (USSD).
Sassa CEO Totsie Memela said: “We received just under 5 million applications for this new grant and we had to compare information provided by applicants with other government and private databases to ensure that people with an income and recipients of other social grants are not included in these applications. In addition, we had to remove duplicated and incomplete applications which account for nearly 50% of all applications received.
“Up to now, we have eliminated a number of undeserving applicants and this has saved the fiscus close to R14 million which could have sky-rocketed to over R81 million by October. As soon as the vetting of applications is completed, the payments will start rolling in at an even faster pace.”
Sassa said they experienced further challenges by the fact that applicants tried to upload supporting documents through the various platforms, despite this not being necessary.
The agency said they had tightened their systems to avoid wasteful expenditure, fraud, or mistakenly paying grant beneficiaries to double the amount that is due to them.
“The mammoth task of ensuring that the correct and deserving individuals are paid has started in earnest. This process involved intense negotiations with institutions in the value chain and this, unfortunately, accounted for the delays that were encountered,” the statement read.