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No ‘application requirements’ yet for South Africa’s Covid-19 social relief grant – ignore false info

A message recently shared on several Facebook pages claims to explain how South Africans can apply for the new social relief of distress grant intended to help people hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown.

It says applications for the grant must include a South African ID document, proof of residence and a bank statement no older than three months.

“All Documents must be Scanned,” it adds. “You can only apply online, NO QUEUES AT SASSA OFFICES.”

The message has also been posted on WhatsApp and Twitter.

But it hasn’t been shared by any official sources. And Sassa, the South African Social Security Agency, says the information is false.

No official sources

One Facebook page that has repeatedly shared the message is named “National Department of Basic Education”. It describes itself as a government organisation and has South Africa’s coat of arms as its profile picture.

But it’s not a government page. The basic education department’s website currently links to a non-existent Facebook page, although its official page appears to be this one.

The regional contact details given in many versions of the message do seem to be taken from an official Sassa page on the social relief grant. But the page doesn’t give any of the message’s other “requirements”. 

These are also at odds with previous grant collection requirements, in which applicants don’t have to supply bank statements or proof of residence.

Sassa says message false

There will be specific requirements to apply for the social relief grant, but they haven’t been announced yet.

On 23 April Sassa discredited the viral message on Twitter, saying: “We'll announce the method of application and a clear criteria very soon.”

The agency added that the message is “not accurate because that procedure is for the normal social relief of distress not the new grant”.

Sassa’s website currently lists what will allow a person to apply for the temporary grant, but doesn’t give details on the application process. Tweets from the agency ask South Africans to wait for an official announcement, assuring them that “it won't be long”. – Keegan Leech


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