Question NW79 to the Minister of Social Development

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07 May 2020 - NW79

Profile picture: Ismail, Ms H

Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Social Development

(a) What is the deciding requirement to receive the SA Social Security Agency Food vouchers and/or food parcels and (b) how will her department ensure that community development workers do not use the food parcels and/ or vouchers as a means of buying votes? :


The qualifying criteria for receipt of any form of social relief of distress, which includes relief parcels and vouchers, is set in the Social Assistance Act, Act 13 of 2004

In terms of regulation 9 to the above Act, social relief may only be given to South Africa citizens, permanent residents, refugees and representatives of a cluster foster care scheme who have insufficient means and meets on or more of the following criteria:

  • Is awaiting payment of an approval grant
  • Is assessed by a medical officer to be disabled for a period of less than 6 months:
  • Is in a household where the breadwinners has died, and application is made within 12 months of the date of the death:
  • The breadwinner has been admitted to a public or private institution for at least one month:
  • The breadwinner has been admitted to an institution funded by the State( including a prison of Psychiatric facility)
  • The person has been affected by a disaster
  • Refusal of the application for social relief of distress may cause undue hardship

(b) All applications for social relief of distress are finally approved or rejected by a SASSA official, who is obliged to ensure that the requirements as set in legislation have been met. Community development workers may refer cases they identify in the course of their work, but they do not make the final decision.

Social relief of distress is provided by SASSA within the available budget. In addition, the approved policy makes it clear that the programme is offered within the confines of Section 195 of the Constitution, which requires all services to be provided impartially, fairly and equitably. The introduction to the policy states” The state and therefore SASSA is responsible for the issuance of social relief of distress (SRD). The role of political parties and the state is therefore separately and must be applied accordingly”.

The above explicit directive acts to ensure that SASSA can account for all SRD issued and that those who receive assistance meet the qualifying criteria as set in legislature.

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