Following the declaration of COVID-19 as a national disaster, the Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu has met with the executives of the National Development Agency (NDA) the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the South African Council for Social Service Professions to deliberate and agree on sector-wide precautionary measures to prevent further transmission and to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 at service delivery points.

The social welfare department provide much needed services to the most vulnerable groups, including children, youth, women, older persons and persons with disabilities. The Minister emphasised that Social Development working jointly with the Department of Health and other key stakeholders must be in the forefront of national efforts to contain the further spread of COVID-19.

“Our efforts will be directed at ensuring that we protect the most vulnerable who will continue to require our services at this difficult time. While we do so, we must take all necessary precautionary measures to protect our staff and our clients, especially at access points in order to contain the spread of this contagious virus,” said Minister Zulu.

Social Development has activated the Disaster Relief Fund to provide immediate assistance to affected individuals and families. An amount of R96 million is available from the Fund.

SASSA to explore various options to ensure that pay points, implement precautionary measures that will assist in minimising and mitigating the spread of the virus as these facilities become overcrowded during pay days. One of the proposals SASSA is currently considering is the staggering of payment dates to avoid gathering of large numbers.

All social service professionals will provide psycho-social care and support services to affected individuals and their families. This includes trauma counselling, integration and re-unification of persons who have been isolated/quarantined to mitigate stigmatisation. All external visits to Child and Youth Care Centres, drug rehabilitation and treatment and old-age centres and shelters will be suspended until further notice.

Photo: SASSA

source: SA Gov News

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