South Africa has disbursed US$900 million dollars as relief payment to nearly seven million citizens during the coronavirus pandemic, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has said at the weekend.The funding, through the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, was disbursed to 6.9 million beneficiaries to cover the month of November, Zulu said.
Some 9.5 million applications were processed for the period but only 6.9 million people were approved and paid the relief money last month, she said.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), the organisation that normally disburses such aid funds monthly, was now processing the applications for end of December, according to the minister.
“Of these payments, SAPO (South African Police Office) accounts for four million [payments], with 1.6 million paid through personal accounts and 100,000 through the mobile money or cash send platforms,” Zulu told the media.
The minister admitted that some fraudsters had infiltrated the funding mechanisms and her government was in the process of flushing the crooks out.
She said that over three million applicants, who despite their ineligibility, knowingly applied for the special Covid-19 SRD grant to defraud the system.
“Of major concern is that over 8,000 of these applicants were found to be using the personal particulars of deceased persons. This is not only illegal, but criminal as well,” Zulu added.