Memela said Sassa will screen applicants against other databases to see whether they qualify. These databases will include the SA Revenue Service (Sars), the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
“The system will automatically say whether you qualify or don’t qualify… Then we’ll put you to the back-end and process the payment.”
She told Cape Talk radio that unemployed South Africans are going to be using a USSD or a WhatsApp process for them to be able to register for the COVID-19 special grants.
Memela added that foreign nationals would qualify for the COVID-19 special grants.
“If you have legal papers to be in South Africa, you will qualify. If you’re a registered refugee, you would qualify,” she told Cape Talk.
For more, listen to the explanation on Cape Talk’s Afternoon Drive with John Maytham here.
The COVID-19 special grants will start at the beginning of May.
Sassa is likely to pay the COVID-19 special grants recipients through e-voucher, a mobile money transfer or, a bank account.
Listen to the interview with Sassa CEO on CapeTalk
Sassa has already quietly tested registration via WhatsApp for R350-per-month Covid-19 grants due to be paid to millions of unemployed people.
Some six million people are expected to qualify for the grants, making for payments of more than R2 billion per month – or R12 billion in total over the half year the special grant is due to run.
The WhatsApp system, and an accompanying USSD registration system for those without smartphones, is also due to displace physical food parcels delivered as part of normal relief-of-distress grants.
Here’s what we know about the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant system due to start payments in early May.
The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has already tested a WhatsApp registration process for what is formally known as the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant system.
Sassa confirmed its unannounced test of registration via WhatsApp over the weekend after it had already closed.
The system uses the government’s existing Covid-19 WhatsApp line, on 060 012 3456, which is now formally associated with the national department of health.
To date that platform has been used only to send users information about SARS-CoV-2, how to prevent infection, and where to go if they suspect they have Covid-19.
The Covid-19 grant is for those who are currently unemployed and who are receiving no other form of assistance.
Sassa has promised to check applicants against government databases, such as those for the Unemployment Insurance Fund, its own list of grant recipients, and those of the SA Revenue Service, to determine who is eligible.
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