Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu. Photo: Flickr/ governtmentza

Lindiwe Zulu assures pensioners of payout of grants amid lockdown

Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu has revealed measures placed to reduce the chance of the spread of COVID-19 come grant collection day.


Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu. Photo: Flickr/ governtmentza

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has moved to allay fears over the payment of grants during the COVID-19 national lockdown.

Old-age and disability grants are due to be paid out at the end of the month, in what is an all-round uncertain period in the country – and the globe at large – amid the growing spread of the coronavirus.

How Social Development plans to restrict crowding during grant collection

For most recipients of these grants, collection means queueing in large crowds, which defeats the purpose of perhaps the most important measure in curbing the spread of the deadly virus – restricting public gatherings.

This has brought on concerns on whether things will continue as normal come time for collection.

In her address, Zulu said three collection dates have been allocated to reduce crowds.

“As we stated earlier this week, there is no need to panic and rush to pay points as social grants will be paid from the 30th and 31st of this month, starting with older persons and persons with disabilities with the view to alleviate overcrowding.”

“All other social grants will be paid on the 1st of April as per schedule. Both the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office have finalised all logistical arrangements pertaining to social grants payment.”

Additional COVID-19 prevention measures 

Zulu said that a government fleet has been activated across all provinces to ensure that older persons and those with disabilities get to the pay points to get their grants.

“We will publish the list and contact details of all Sassa regional managers that members of the public can contact if they experience any challenges. The Sassa and SAPO call centres will remain operational to respond to public enquiries.”

In addition, all provinces have been instructed to activate shelters that will provide accommodation and meals to people working and living on the streets.

There are also additional measures to assist the disabled and older persons.

Also revealed at the address was the recruitment of more than 1 800 social workers across the nine provinces to provide psychosocial assistance to families affected by the pandemic.

“We are focusing on unemployed social workers who benefited from the Department’s Scholarship Programme.”

South Africa has emerged as the epicentre of the pandemic in Africa, with 1 170 cases reported as of Friday, as well as a solitary death.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 600 000 people, with deaths fast approaching the 30 000-mark.