Home News Ramaphosa under fire for ‘silence’ over possible R350 grant extension

Ramaphosa under fire for ‘silence’ over possible R350 grant extension

Cyril Ramaphosa covered everything from new lockdown regulations to a comprehensive review of South Africa’s vaccine strategy on Monday evening, during his address to the nation. However, the president is copping heat for failing to address the cashflow crisis currently engulfing SASSA, and the lapse of both the R350 grant and temporary disability payments.

Sharna Fernandez is the Western Cape’s Provincial Minister for Social Development. She has been left dismayed by the government’s response, after SASSA stated it had ‘very little money left in the pot’. Thousands of disabled citizens have been left in the lurch – and millions more have been left out of pocket now the R350 grant has expired:

“The President’s silence regarding the SASSA debacle, and lack of information to our most vulnerable citizens regarding the R350 grant, is deeply concerning. I raised serious concerns that – if the numerous challenges experienced by SASSA are not addressed – this will lead to a humanitarian crisis not only in the Western Cape, but across the country.”

“I remain deeply concerned about the lack of communication regarding the termination of the COVID-19 SRD R350 grant. This, despite my request for an urgent MINMEC to appraise all provinces on the way forward.”

“I urge President Cyril Ramaphosa and the National Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, to prioritize addressing the series of challenges facing SASSA, overall. Intervention is needed urgently! I fear that thousands of citizens will experience hunger, exacerbating the humanitarian crises staring us in the face.”

SASSA lambasted for causing a potential ‘hunger crisis’

Fernandez has made her grievances with the ANC, National Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, and the SASSA agency perfectly clear: In the eyes of the local government, this ‘inaction’ could spark a domestic humanitarian crisis:

– There are currently just nine SASSA doctors available to assess 48 000 grant applicants in the Western Cape.

– National Treasury permitted them to secure the services of approximately 500 doctors – who initially indicated their willingness to assist.

– Only 4 000 applicants have been properly assessed in this province, since the disability grant lapsed.

– There are now fears that SASSA will miss their target to have everyone reassessed by 31 March 2021.