By Kaya 959 News
The Democratic Alliance says 241 public service employees received the Special Relief of Distress (SRD) grant meant for the poor.
“A total amount of R84 350 was paid to public service employees who applied for the SRD grant for the month of May 2020,” the party said.
The monthly R350 grant was made available during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was meant to assist unemployed individuals who were not receiving any other grants.
Thousands of state workers apply
But the DA says nearly 40,000 state workers have applied to receive the money despite having permanent jobs.
“As of February 2021, an astonishing 39 672 public service employees had applied for the SRD grant.
“However, no disciplinary or legal action has been instituted against them as the SASSA-led investigations into their applications are still ongoing and have yet to be concluded,” DA MP, Dr Mimmy Martha Gondwe, said in a statement.
Gondwe said Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, revealed the information in a written response to a parliamentary question.
The department has put systems in place to prevent public service employees from applying for the grant.
But Gondwe says the DA remains “concerned that the investigations into the 39 672 implicated public service employees have yet to be concluded”.
SRD grant extended
President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the monthly SRD grant to April 2021. The grant was originally supposed to expire in January 2021.
The Social Security Agency of South Africa has paid R16-billion to more than six-million people since May.
Advocacy group, the Black Sash, has called on government to extend the grant.
“The eligibility criteria for this grant must be amended so that caregivers are included; and the grant should be increased to at least the Food Poverty Line of R585 p/m,” the group said in a statement.
Black Sash has requested a meeting with government to discuss the “devastating effects of this pandemic”.
“We view the Covid SRD grant as a bridge to a Basic Income Guarantee. The silence on a future BIG by the President during the SONA was deafening, despite his previous statement that engagement on implementing a BIG would take place this year.”