The South African Social Service Agency (SASSA) has shut down claims that citizens need to be vaccinated in order to receive the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant.
The grant was reintroduced to assist people who are “in dire material need who are unable to meet their families’ most basic needs”.
More than 12-million people have applied for the R350 grant, with millions receiving their first payment in the latest cycle. However, after the fake news report was published, SASSA had to move fast to shut it down.
“Covid-19 vaccination is not part of the special Covid-19 SRD grant application criteria,” it said.
Not SASSA’s first fake news encounter
In May, the agency had to deal with another round of fake news going around on social media. The posts claimed that beneficiaries of the grant would receive “triple pay” if they hadn’t received any previous payments.
“Attention. If you haven’t received your last R350 for the past [sic] months. Many people yesterday received R700 Sassa and some received triple pay R1,050,” read the message, before directing people to a google link.
The South African Post Office (Sapo) also warned people not to fall for a scam that promises to get beneficiaries a spot in line.
In a TimesLIVE statement, Sapo said they had “become aware of instances where self-appointed queue marshals ask customers who visit their branches a fee for a place in the front of the queue”.
Sapo made it clear that this is illegal, and charges may be brought against those responsible.