Sassa SRS location
  • More than a day after Sassa formally started accepting applications for the special R350 Covid-19 unemployment grant, most of its platforms remain unusable most of the day.
  • If you wait late enough into the night, USSD seems to work.
  • But we've discovered a web-based system too which – possibly because you need to know the exact right web address – is not suffering from overload.
  • For more stories go to

The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has a web platform – which is, testing suggests, not yet faltering under heavy load – for applications for the R350-per-month temporary Covid-19 grant.

As long as you know the correct web address to use.

Sassa officially started taking applications after noon on Monday, but its platforms have been unusable ever since, many complaints and Business Insider South Africa's testing showed, either simply not responding or failing before submission can be completed.

See also | R350 unemployment grant: After many failed attempts, we finally found a way to apply

One channel, USSD via cellphone, appears to work late at night, when loads are low enough.

But with an estimated six million people eligible, and the first payments due to be made by Friday, 15 May, there has been no reliable way to get an application through, up to now.

Here's how to apply for the special coronavirus-linked Social Relief of Distress grant from Sassa, via the web.

Go to (and be sure to use the full address)

While the rest of Sassa's Social Relief of Distress (SRD) website was not available during our testing, a direct link to that authorisation page worked.


There are no instructions, but the process is straight forward enough: provide a 10-digit cellphone number (no + country code, no spaces), and you will receive a six-digit one-time pin (OTP) via SMS. Enter that and you are taken to a form to fill out.

You'll be asked for your district, and ward, but those are optional fields.

The website form is different from any of the other application forms we've seen, asking for things such as an email address and, a little confusingly, for district and ward details.

SRD district

Those are optional fields. In order to successfully submit the form you actually only need to provide the standard details: ID number, name and surname, citizenship, at least one line of an address, and your province.

And if you allow the site access to your location, it will auto-fill some of those details.

There's a comforting confirmation message once you've submitted – or you can try again.

Sassa web success

Unlike some other application channels, the web system provides a clear confirmation of success, with a reference number that Sassa says it will quote – and which, presumably, applicants can also use in future queries.

Our testing shows that you can use the same cellphone number to request another OTP to apply, if that confirmation is not forthcoming for some reason, but avoiding a duplicate application is almost certainly a good idea.

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