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Early pension payments as Sassa seeks to keep elderly safe from COVID-19

Government said that it had taken the necessary measures to reduce congestion and ensure there was social distancing protocols at pay points.

New Sassa cards. Picture: OfficialSASSA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - With social grant payments for the elderly and disabled expected to paid out from Monday, some lockdown restrictions have been eased to accommodate thousands of South African citizens.

The South African Social Security Agency said that it would provide early payment of social grants for the month of April by two days in an effort to lower the risk of COVID-19 infections.

Other grants, including child support, will be collected from 1 April.

At least 17 million beneficiaries across the country are expected to travel and queue for their payments.

Government said that it had taken the necessary measures to reduce congestion and ensure there was social distancing protocols at pay points.

Speaking at the Gauteng provincial government command council on Sunday, acting MEC for Social Development Panyaza Lesufi confirmed more than 700,000 elderly and disabled residents in the province would receive social grants over the next two days.

Lesufi said that community patrollers would be present at Sassa pay points while law enforcement agencies would enforce lockdown measures.

He’s encouraged grant recipients to swipe their cards rather than withdrawing cash.

The MEC added that additional steps would be taken by the South African Post Office.

"We will make available 5,000 litres of hand sanitiser for the elderly and beneficiaries. For the office staff, we've ordered 30,000 pairs of gloves, so that the office staff can be in a position to perform their mandate in a safe environment, including 300 masks."

Lesufi stressed the importance of safeguarding the elderly during this time.

Meanwhile, taxis and buses will be allowed to operate throughout the week adhering to the new laws, with citizens advised to carry both their ID and Sassa cards when travelling to collection points.

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

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