The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has announced that it has changed the dates of social grant payments to ensure its beneficiaries adhere to social distancing under the national lockdown regulations.
As of May, persons with disabilities and the elderly will be paid their grants on the 4th of the month while all other grants will be paid from the 6th of the month.
South Africa has recorded 3158 positive coronavirus cases and 54 COVID-19 related deaths. Sassa CEO, Busisiwe Memela-Khambula, says they have made the changes to avoid crowding at paysites and to protect the vulnerable from potentially being exposed to the virus.
“Persons with disabilities and elderly persons will have the money in their bank accounts. Those who have children and other grants will receive theirs after the 5th. If you are an elderly person and receiving your grant on the 4th or 5th, all those grants will be in your account at the same time so we don’t make the elderly go to receive their grants twice.”
NGO working with vulnerable elderly
As KwaZulu-Natal bears the burden of the country’s deaths from COVID-19, the elderly have emerged as one of the most vulnerable groups.
Durban-based non-profit organisation, the Association for the Aged-(TAFTA) says while they have restricted access and implemented stricter hygiene and social distancing rules, encouraging a spirit of ubuntu and elderly-led solutions is the key to keeping the older members of society safe.
TAFTA Chief Executive Officer, Femada Shamam has praised the work of the 150 caregivers and service staff, who chose to stay locked down with TAFTA’s elderly residents, limiting the risk for those in their care.
Shamam says it has been important to include the elderly in finding solutions, to empower them to feel in control of their lives.
“They are scared and we have to acknowledge that. Throughout the world, stats indicate that older people are the most vulnerable group. It’s not about us keeping them safe but you keeping yourself safe as well. So there’s this sense of community responsibility. Older people have come together to help us. In some of the buildings, you’ll find that two or three of the ladies will get together and bake muffins for everyone in the building. They will then see it distributed to people in their rooms not calling everyone to our hall.”