‘Top-up’ grant will no longer be paid: Sassa

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says ‘top-ups’ on old-age, child support and foster grants that applied during the COVID-19 lockdowns will no longer be paid.

Delivering government’s reconstruction and economic recovery plan last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said only the special COVID-19 grant will be extended for a further three months to the end of January next year.

The president says through the special COVID-19 grants and the top-up of existing grants, close to R40 billion in additional support has been provided to more than 17 million people from poor households.

“The evidence suggests that the expansion of social protection has kept more than 5 million people above the food poverty line during the past  six months. The Special COVID-19 Grant, in particular, represents a significant achievement, reaching more than six million unemployed people in a short space of time,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa also says studies conducted showed that the grants were vital in reducing the impact of COVID-19 on levels of poverty and hunger.

However, the President says the grant cannot be expanded beyond three months.

“Also, having realized that pending the full implementation of these measures that we are announcing there will be a gap of some three months where we need to give support to our people, to continue the support that was given six months ago to make it nine months. The stretched nature of our financial resources does make it difficult and impossible to extend it beyond the three months.”

Sassa spokesperson, Paseka Letsatsi, says the R350 COVID-19 social grant would be extended until January 2021.

“The South African Social Security Agency can confirm that that the R350 COVID-19 social grant would be extended with three months meaning until January however, all the top-ups which were linked to other forms of grants have come to an end and anybody who has been getting that top-up would not be extended until January but only the R350 COVID-19 social grant.”