Under Adjusted Alert level 4, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) will remain open and operate with a reduced staff complement as per the Department of Public Service and Administration circular.
“Applications for social grants at all local offices will be staggered according to grant type, for instance Mondays will be for older persons, Tuesdays for disability grants, Wednesdays and Thursdays for child grant applications, and Fridays for appointments and spill over from the week,” Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, said on Friday.
She was addressing members of the media in Pretoria on her department’s response to COVID-19 and on the Level 4 Risk Adjusted Strategy as announced by the President.
Some of the changes that were made by the Department of Social Development during its response to COVID-19 has enabled the department to fast-track digitisation of its services.
These include the online booking system for disability grants, which has significantly cut down on the amount of time and costs for both SASSA and grants applicants.
“We take great pride with the significant progress we have registered since the launch of the online booking system in April this year. We therefore would like to encourage disability grant applicants to make use of the SASSA online booking system, which can be accessed through the agency’s website on www.sassa.gov.za.
“This will allow applicants to book assessment dates for the disability assessments. Our staff at SASSA offices can also assist clients with this system to ensure that they avoid repeated visits to local offices,” the Minister said.
SASSA will continue with the staggered payments of grants, with the first payment date reserved for older persons, followed by disability grants and the payment of all child grants.
“This month, payments of social grants will start on Tuesday 6 July. Once again, we appeal to all grant recipients that they do not need to collect their grants on the day it becomes available, but can collect their grants on any day as their monies will remain in their accounts and will not be taken away from them,” Zulu said.
Community Nutrition and Development Centres
The department’s 250 Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDCs) across the country will remain open to provide the much-needed relief, but this will be under strict COVID-19 regulations compliance and will be limited to take-away meals only.
“We have also adapted our operations to new and innovative ways that include knock-and-drop approach of cooked meals to minimise the health risks of those aged 60+.
“Our CNDCs assist with food storage and distribution to poor households, and are also part of community driven Food and Nutrition Security Programmes, which increase access to food security to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, especially at this time of need,” the Minister said.
All CNDCs have amended their operations to ensure precautions that prioritise the health and safety of recipients and staff who are at the frontline.
“It is important to stress that these measures are no substitute to other COVID-19 protocols as beneficiaries have equal responsibility by continuing to follow the guidelines which, include; the – regular sanitising and washing of hands, wearing of a mask that covers both mouth and face, and maintaining a distance from others at all times. On a related matter, we will continue utilising a hybrid model of providing food parcels, such as cash, food parcels and vouchers throughout the nine provinces and through SASSA’s Social Relief of Distress (SRD) programme for eligible households in distress,” Zulu said.
Registration of NPOs
All in-person Non-profit Organisations (NPOs) services have been suspended.
For NPO registrations and submission of annual reports, citizens are encouraged to use the department’s online platform: www.npo.gov.za
“We reiterate our call for NPOs to ensure that they remain compliant with the NPO Act to avoid being de-registered. We further would like to assure all NPO applicants that their temporary certificates will be issued to them via email whilst the original certificates will be provided at a later stage,” Zulu said.
Provincial departments are making progress with the transfer of funds to NPOs whose efforts are more important than ever during this pandemic.
“However, we are mindful that some provinces are experiencing delays attributed to system changes, delays in finalisation of Service Level Agreements and human resource shortages, amongst others.
“I have directed all provincial departments to ensure that they move with greater speed in processing these subsidies. We take this opportunity to call upon the NPO sector to comply with all accountability requirements, including timely submission of progress reports as required by law,” the Minister said.
Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs)
All ECDs remain open and in full operation in compliance with all COVID-19 protocols and guidelines as previously provided to the sector.
“Our Provincial Departments will also continue to pay full subsidy to ECD programmes. We are aware that we did not complete payment through the stimulus package to all qualifying applicants at the end of March 2021.
“To this end, all Provincial Departments have applied for the rollover of funds as per the budget process. Let me take this opportunity to assure all qualifying ECD services that they will definitely receive their payments,” the Minister said.
Source: South African Government News Agency