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No, white South Africans not banned from getting Covid-19 government aid

“Whites Banned from Receiving Government Aid in South Africa during World Covid-19 Crisis,” claims the headline of an article on the website ANC Sanctioned Genocide. The undated article has been circulating on Facebook since 27 April 2020.

The article is a call to funding for a civil society group, VVS, which is raising funds to buy groceries and other supplies for poor white communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Whites are not able to receive any government aid during this devastating time all over the world. Whites are being turned away from receiving government food parcels and necessities,” it says

The article has been viewed more than 72,000 times on Facebook. 

South Africa is currently under lockdown to control the Covid-19 outbreak. Everyone in the country, except essential workers, must stay at home and only go out “under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or collect a social grant”. 

The government has announced a gradual easing of some restrictions, starting from 1 May. 

The lockdown means thousands of people are likely to lose their jobs. The government has launched social relief measures to help people through the lockdown, including food parcels and R350 grants for unemployed citizens. 

But has it banned white South Africans from receiving government aid? We checked. 

Ban on aid for white people ‘unconstitutional’ – Sassa

The article does not provide any sources for its claim, or explain it in any way. Instead, it discusses VVS’s relief efforts in white communities. 

Africa Check asked Kgomoco Diseko, senior manager of media relations for the South African Social Security Agency, or Sassa, about the claim. She said it was false. 

“This is not true. It’s actually unconstitutional,” she said. 

Who qualifies for aid?

The Department of Social Development, which Sassa falls under, provides information on who is eligible for the Covid-19 social grant.

To apply, a person has to meet specific criteria. They must:

  • be a South African citizen or permanent resident in possession of an ID document

  • be over 18 years old

  • be unemployed and not receiving any income or social grant

  • not receive or qualify for any unemployment insurance benefit

  • not receive a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme

  • not reside in a government funded or subsidised institution

On 29 April Sassa posted the application process on Twitter. Applicants who meet the criteria should send a WhatsApp message to 0600 123 456 and provide key documents including an ID document, proof of residence, and banking details. 

The criteria for Covid-19 related government aid does not ban white South Africans from receiving it. – Naledi Mashishi


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