Zulu’s department labelled ‘shameful’ after ‘only 10 people’ get unemployment grant

Taylin Andreas from Ravensmead said she spent two nights outside the office with her 17-month-old child. Picture: Ashraf Hendricks

In a statement on Friday, DA MP Bridget Masango said it was shameful that only 10 people had so far received the R350 unemployment grant announced weeks earlier by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Masango said Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) CEO, Busisiwe Memela-Khambula, “should hang their heads in shame following reports that only 10 people have received the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant of R350”.

The party accused the department and Sassa of seemingly misleading the nation when they had indicated that payments for this grant would commence on 15 May.

“Clearly they are in over their heads and do not have a handle on this special grant. This was evident in parliament on Thursday when the DA asked the CEO how many recipients of the special grant had been paid, and instead of answering the question, she proceeded to give a long-winded explanation on vetting applicants and testing the system.”

Ramaphosa had announced that the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant of R350 a month would last for the next six months and be paid to individuals who were currently unemployed and did not receive any other form of social grant or UIF payment.

“While the DA acknowledges that it is no small feat to vet and approve 3.5 million people in a short amount of time, the reality is that the president announced the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant on 21 April 2020.”

They charged that Sassa therefore, had more than three weeks to plan as well as to vet and approve a significant proportion of applications.

“It is ridiculous that only 10 people have received this grant and no amount of spin will justify this mammoth failure on the part of Minister Zulu and CEO Memela-Khambula.”

They alleged that government was neglecting the poorest people in South Africa and in the most awful manner.

“Not only do they try to prevent NGOs from distributing food to the poor, but they also make it almost impossible for desperate people to access the meagre R350 relief.”

Meanwhile, the DA won a pre-emptive shot against Zulu in the Western Cape High Court on Friday when the court ordered that government could be allowed to prevent people from exercising their existing rights to distribute and receive food.

The court ordered Zulu to bring this to the attention of social development officials in her department and MECs in all of the provinces. The commissioner of police was also ordered to bring this order to the attention of all police officials.

In a statement, the DA confirmed that for the next four weeks food distribution by NGOs would be able to continue as normal before the matter finally went to court, as the order was temporary.

DA federal chairperson Helen Zille advised people running NGOs for the needy to keep a copy of the order on them.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.



today in print