In various parts of the Eastrand long queues have been seen during the past week as dozens of unemployed youth waited to receive R350 SASSA COVID-19 relief grants from the government. Those waiting were happy to have qualified following reports which were recently released on how over two million applicants have been rejected.
The money certainly came as a relief to many of the young people who say they have been sitting at home for years failing to find work with or without qualifications. The large number of youths seen in queues only proved that the statistical numbers of unemployed young people in South Africa are indeed real.
From as early as 6am before shopping complexes open many people were already waiting outside determined to receive the money. We spoke to several men and women who were waited desperately for their turn to come.
Siphesihle Mahlangu from Tsakane Proper said she has been failing to find work for since she finished college three years ago. She says she has lost count of how many CVs she had sent. To Mahlangu the R350 will make a great difference.
“The government has done well by providing us with this grant. Being unemployed is not easy. As we speak there is no food at home. As soon as l receive money l will buy some groceries to take home,” she says.
Mahlangu says some of her friends had tried applying for the relief grant but failed to qualify.
Another unemployed young lady from Geluksdale, Jackie Rittle said she had been going through a tough time during the lockdown. She used to run a small fruits and vegetable stall but had to close it down.
“l’m glad that l qualified to receive a grant, things have just not been easy,” says Rittle.
Others said the government should continue giving the grant during the post lockdown period as the unemployment issue is a long-term reality in the country.
“Surely the government sees how unemployment is a serious issue in the country. Unemployment grants should be given whether there is a pandemic or not,” said Martin Dlamini.
Dlamini says he has been unemployed for more than five years. He believes that unemployment is the reason why there is a high rate of crime among the youth.
“The youth need full support from the government, more money should be invested in making sure that unemployed people in our continue to receive grants,” he says.
He feels that applications by people who did not qualify for the grant should be reviewed to enable all unemployed youths to be given a chance at receiving the unemployment relief grant.
“This may just be the solution to youth incited crime in our country, “says Mahlangu.