GovChat uses social media to help SASSA manage FAQs

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The WhatsApp line for the COVID-19 SRD grant is 082 046 8553.
The WhatsApp line for the COVID-19 SRD grant is 082 046 8553.

Citizen engagement platform GovChat has stepped in to assist the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) manage frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the R350 relief grant.

GovChat is making it possible for citizens to direct their enquiries about the government grant to popular instant messaging platforms, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

According to GovChat, the move comes amid thousands of South Africans contacting the SASSA call centre in need of feedback about a variety of enquiries related to the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant.

The addition of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger is intended to provide much-needed relief to the SASSA call centre, which has been inundated with calls.

The FAQs will pay special attention to ensure every question relating to the SASSA SRD grant is attended to and provides applicants with the clarity that they need, says GovChat.

Founder and CEO, Eldrid Jordaan, explains: “As GovChat, we are committed to supporting government’s efforts to make this transition into ‘the new normal’ seamless. It is important for us to continue to accelerate the digitisation efforts to enhance the citizens’ experience to better response times, and access to the information that they need to take the appropriate steps. This work matters to us.”

SASSA recently decided to switch to an updated database to determine who should qualify for the SRD grant after discovering that the high number of rejections raised questions.

Government introduced the COVID-19 SDR grant in a bid to provide financial support to some unemployed South Africans during the COVID-19 lockdown. This is to ensure unemployed persons receive R350 for six months, from May to October.

Applicants can address their FAQs via the GovChat WhatsApp number (082 046 8553) and on Facebook Messenger by simply adding GovChat and prompting “SASSA” to get started.

GovChat is the official communications platform for government. It is accessible via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, SMS and USSD channels, with 4 million monthly active users.

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