The inaccessibility of the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) award to the beneficiaries has been criticized by South African Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
The Minister told the media on Monday that she has been disappointed since learning that the grants have not yet reached the beneficiaries and that her department is not to blame.
The Black Sash, the Institute for Economic Justice, and the Women in Democracy Initiative issued a joint statement last week criticizing the department as “a national scandal.”
The organizations said they were shocked to learn in the last few days that recipients had not been paid for the months of April and May, calling it a “national disgrace” and a “scandal.”
After the national state of a disaster ended in April, applications for the new phase of the R350 grant opened under the Social Assistance Act.
She claims that the procedures for releasing monies through Treasury and banks are causing payment delays.
According to Zulu, the government had to modify its arrangements with banks due to the change in Covid-19 laws.
“We are really sorry that we have had to go through this procedure and that it is taking so long,” she said. “However, the money will be handed to the correct beneficiaries.”
Zulu declined to say when beneficiaries will begin receiving their funds, but indicated that talks with banks are nearly finished.
“We’ll be reimbursing people from the time they applied and were approved.” “The payouts will be retroactive,” she explained.