Ever since President Cyril Ramaphosa reinstated the R350 Social Relief and Distress (SRD) grant on 25 July, millions of South Africans all around the country have been applying. By 11 August 2021, five days after applications opened, more than four million people had submitted their application to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).
Ill-prepared for the number of people trying to apply, the SASSA site crashed and was inaccessible for many applicants during the first few days. This resulted in two more channels of registration being added by SASSA, both requiring applicants to have a smart phone (GovChat application and via Facebook Messenger).
In the community of Kliptown (south of Johannesburg), people trying to apply for the grant form two lines at the internet cafés almost on a daily basis.
According to the manager at one of the internet café’s, since the café opened, it has never been so busy as it is now.
Most of the applicants have been youth who were unable to apply the first time around (in 2020), and most of them are unemployed.
“This is not my first time applying,” said Johnson, a young man who lost his job this year. “I was declined the first time because I did work but now that I’m unemployed, [I think] I stand a pretty high chance of receiving the grant.”
Many of the applicants at the café who were declined during the registration process in 2021 are grateful for the fact that they get another chance to apply for the grant.
Applicants also said that even though the grant money is not enough, it’s better than receiving nothing and having no income at all.
Some applicants spoke about how some of their family relatives are also applying. “I have three other relatives here with me that reside with me, and if all for of us get approved we will be able to have enough money to survive every month since all four of us are unemployed,” said Julia, an unemployed young woman.
The café has not just assisted people from the Kliptown area but also residents from Klipspruit West and Pimville (Soweto). The manager said they assist almost 50-60 applicants a day and the café charges R20 per person.
This article was submitted on 10 August 2021. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.