The Department of Social Development’s SASSA WhatsApp number remains inoperative, over three hours after it went live for applicants to apply for COVID-19 Relief payouts.
On Monday, 11 May 2020, the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, addressed the South African public about the R350 COVID-19 Relief Fund handled by one of its entities, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). The department outlined three channels South Africans could use to apply to the relief fund.
The first is a WhatsApp number, 082 046 8553, the second is a USSD code (*134*7737#), and the third channel is an email address, [email protected] Many South Africans opted for the WhatsApp number believing it would result in more immediate responses, but more than three hours after its 12 noon launch, the number is currently either not blue-ticking contacts, or messages still have one tick, meaning they have not been received.
SASSA nor the Department of Social Development has addressed the matter on their social media platforms, or released a WhatsApp-specific statement on a way forward for potential applicants.