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How the coronavirus R350 unemployment grant will be rolled out

The special Social Relief of Distress grant will go to those who are unemployed and do not receive any other social grant or UIF payment.

A South African Social Security Agency office in Pretoria. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

CAPE TOWN - This week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a new coronavirus unemployment grant of R350 a month for the next six months until October.

The special Social Relief of Distress grant will go to those who are unemployed and do not receive any other social grant or UIF payment.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) will screen applicants against other databases to see whether they qualify.

Sassa chief executive Busisiwe Memela described how the social security agency plans to identify and pay eligible beneficiaries.

Memela said these databases will include the SA Revenue Service (Sars), the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

How will people register?

"They are going to be using an SSD or a WhatsApp process for them to be able to register," Memela said.

How will they identify legitimate beneficiaries?

"You are going to be able to indicate 'I'm not employed', 'I'm not getting UIF', 'I'm not getting an NSFAS fund', 'I'm a South African'. And then we will check all these [details] against the databases.

"The system will automatically say whether you qualify or don't qualify... Then we'll put you to the back-end and process the payment."

Do foreign nationals qualify?
"If you have legal papers to be in South Africa, you would qualify. If you're a registered refugee, you would qualify."

When will payments start?

"Once you've registered, we hope to start doing the payments at the beginning of May. Once you've been processed, we will pay at that time. We won't wait until the end of the month... As and when people get registered, we need to push out the payment and make sure we do it once a month for the next six months."

How will the money be paid?

"We are going to use three possible processes; an e-voucher, a mobile money transfer or, if you have a bank account, we'll put the money in your bank account."

Listen to the audio below for more.