Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu on Monday called for patience around the distribution of the unemployment COVID-19 special grant.
Her department has been criticised because it only managed to pay 10 people in the past two weeks.
But the minister said those payments formed part of a trial-run test of the system, and she promised thousands of unemployed South Africans would get their money this week.
When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the R350 special COVID-19 grant in April, many vulnerable South Africans welcomed the relief.
It’s been a month now and two weeks since the distribution of the funds started, and yet only 10 people had received the money.
Zulu said 140,000 people would be paid this week and thousands of others were still being verified.
“The next batch that we have given names to is names of 500,000 people, which we have now sent to Sassa. Out of that, Sassa has cleared 185,000,” Zulu said.
While her department had delayed paying the funds, the minister said they did not underestimate the huge task this would prove to be.
“It wasn’t the question of undermining the task, it was a question of looking for the best system that can do the thing that we want efficiently, effectively, and at a lower cost,” she said.
The minister said the verification process to ensure the right people benefited from the fund was what delayed the payments.