Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu and Gauteng acting MEC for Social Development Panyaza Lusufi are today visiting several social grant payment points across Pretoria, as part of efforts to monitor the payment of grants, under the current 21-day COVID-19 national lockdown.
The visits to the Laudium Plaza, Atteridgeville Post Office, Shoprite at Atlyn Mall and Mamelodi Post Office will culminate with a visit to the Soshanguve Post Office at NAFCOC Centre.
Tuesday's visits follow on Monday's start of the payments of grants to older persons and persons with disabilities.
Under the current 21-day national lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the payment of social grants of the elderly and persons with disabilities have been set aside for 30-31 March 2020.
The payment of these grants got off to a smooth start on Monday, said the Department of Social Development and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in a joint statement.
As at 4pm on Monday, 4.2 million transactions to the tune of R3.7b billion were processed through the SASSA/South African Post Office (SAPO) card.
In addition, 3.1 million beneficiaries were paid through various commercial banks.
"The payment of social grants highlights the importance of providing the safety nets for the poor and vulnerable particularly amid what has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Without social grants, over 12 million vulnerable people who are currently on the social assistance programme will have no safety net to mitigate the negative socio-economic impact of COVID-19," said the two parties.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 21-days lockdown, SASSA brought the social grants payment date forward.
The large transactions took place despite minor glitches reported in some areas.
These glitches included long queues, overcrowding, failure to comply with social distancing and hygiene guidelines at some pay outlets.
There were also reported cases of depletion of cash at some post office outlets due to higher than normal numbers of people.
Minister Zulu, accompanied by the MEC visited some pay points on Monday to monitor compliance with the lockdown regulations and measures to contain the further spread of the virus.
"We are pleased that in most areas that we visited, social grant beneficiaries heeded our call to give older persons and persons with disabilities an opportunity to be the first to access their grants.
"I would like to thank the Minister of Transport, the transport operators and some municipalities for their cooperation in ensuring that our senior citizens and persons with disabilities get to their pay points. I would also like to thank retailers and banks for enforcing the lockdown regulations for the safety and health of our people," said Zulu on Monday.
The post office and the majority of retailers provided chairs, trolleys, hand sanitisers and queue walkers to ensure compliance with hygiene and social distancing guidelines recommended by the Department of Health.