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  • Social security agency Sassa launched an online application portal for child support, older persons and foster child grants on Monday. 
  • The launch was a damp squib: the portal was down for most of the day.
  • But by Tuesday morning, the site was live - although not fully functional.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

South Africans can now apply for some social grants online as part of a new pilot project.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) announced the launch of its new online portal, at https://services.sassa.gov.za, on Monday morning – but the site was offline for much of the day.

By Tuesday morning, the portal was live...

A screen grab of the online child grant application.

... but attempts to apply were frustrated by error messages: 

Error message on the new Sassa platform.

Theoretically, applicants will be able to apply for child support, older persons and foster child grants on the site, and won’t have to stand in queues at Sassa offices.  

“The added advantage is that the convenience of online applications eliminates the risk of being infected with the [coronavirus] because there will be no need to gather at public places to apply,” Sassa said.

According to Sassa, the turnaround time will be 10 days, provided you have submitted all the documents necessary, including identity documents and banking detail.

“It is important to note that required supporting documents to be attached must be certified by a Commissioner of Oaths,” Sassa said.

The portal will also provide updates on the status of the application, but applicants need to have an email address to sign up for these updates.

For now, online applications will be accepted until 25 September. If the pilot project is successful, other grants will also be added to the portal.

The (so far unsuccessful) launch of the new online portal comes as Sassa is still battling a backlog of some 300,000 emails for the special Covid-19 R350 grant for unemployed people who receive no other state help. 

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