Pretoria, 26 March 2020: As the coronavirus outbreak spreads across the country, Social Development has been inundated with calls from parents who have joint custody of their children on where their children should stay during the 21-day lockdown period as proclaimed by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 23 March 2020.

Amid concerns of the safety and well-being of children during the lockdown due to COVID-19, which is disrupting family routines and support systems, the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu wishes to urge all parents/caregivers, including those with joint custody, to ensure the protection of children and that their actions and decisions are in the best interest of their children.

“We urge all parents/caregivers to remain vigilant and ensure that the protection of children is given utmost consideration at this time. The COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa presents a huge risks to children as it disrupts the normal child care arrangements for parents with joint custody,” said Minister Zulu.

She also encouraged parents to be make use of technology such as WhatsApp video call, Skype and FaceTime to make sure that children are in touch with both parents.

With the lockdown coming into full force at midnight, Minister Zulu also advised parents/caregivers to monitor their online activities to prevent online abuse. She urged them to keep their children safe online while they are off school as they spend most of their time indoors.

Minister Zulu encourages parents/caregivers to use the lockdown period to build positive relationships with their children.

The Gender Based Violence Command Centre will remain operational during the lockdown. Members of the public can report cases of child abuse, neglect and exploitation on the GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428/ *120*7867# from any cell phone; Persons with disabilities, SMS “HELP” to 31531; Women Abuse Helpline: 0800 150 150.


Media enquiries may be forwarded to Ms Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Social Relief of Distress Grant (How To Apply)

Prospective Applicants will need to provide the following compulsory information for processing of their applications:

  • Identity Number/Department of Home permit;
  • Name and Surname as captured in the ID (and initials);
  • Gender and Disability;
  • Banking details - Bank Name and Account Number;
  • Contact details - Cell phone number;
  • Proof of Residential Address;


The manner in which qualifying citizens can apply for this grant will be as follows:

  • The new WHATSAPP line will be     082 0468 553
  • The USSD or SMS Line will be         *134*7737#
  • The email address will be      
  • Call centre IVR:                                0800 60 10 11
  • Website: