Bathabile to pay or not to pay for Sassa - CPS saga – ConCourt to rule

2017-06-15 08:52
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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Johannesburg – Should Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini be held personally liable for the legal costs incurred in the social grants matter at the Constitutional Court in March?

This is the question the Constitutional Court is expected to answer on Thursday.

Long before the social grant payment saga played out in various courts, News24 interviewed families whose lives depended on that month-end government grant.

At the time the families feared that some children would starve while some of the elderly would die had Sassa failed to find a new grant distributor by the March 31 deadline the Constitutional Court set back in 2014.  

The first family, from Cape Town, told News24 that it lived off R1 050 a month in a council flat in Hanover Park, together with 16 other people. The mother, Berenice Plaatjies, collected a R350 child support grant for each of her three minor children.

Another family living in KZN told News24 that it lived off R850 every month.

Rhoda Khoza from Extension Two in Chesterville, Durban said she barely made it to the end of the month because she used the R850 to look after two of her late sister’s children.  

The Maxualane and the Moroka family were also featured.

Edna Maxaulane and her four grandchildren survived on her R1 500 pension grant as well as a R320 childcare grant she received for one of her grandchildren.

Elizabeth Mangi and John Rabaile Moroka clothe and feed their five grandchildren on both their pension grants, which amounted to R3 000 and an additional R1 700 that John receives as part of his pension settlement with his former employer after getting retrenched in 2006.

The families fears' were laid to rest when on March 17, the Constitutional Court ordered Cash Paymaster Service [CPS ]to continue paying social grants for another 12 months from April 1.

The court ordered that the contract with the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) be based on the same terms and conditions as the one that expired on March 31.

Justice Johan Froneman, at the time, also ordered that Dlamini submit an affidavit by March 31, telling the court why she should not be joined to the case in her personal capacity.

She was also asked to explain why she should not be made to pay the costs of the parties who brought the case.

Black Sash filed an application to the court in February asking it to exercise oversight over the process of finding a new social grant payment provider.

The Constitutional Court in 2014 ruled that the contract Sassa signed with CPS in 2012 was illegal and invalid. 

In April, the court suspended the order of invalidity until March 31, 2017, to allow the department and Sassa to insource the administrative requirements from a new agreement.

However, because the nature of the contract was invalid, it had to deviate from normal bidding processes and this was something that Treasury was not prepared to do unless the Constitutional Court approved.

An inter-ministerial task team set up by President Jacob Zuma met and subsequently rejected the two-year deal.

It preferred that negotiations start over if and when Treasury gave it prior written approval for the deal’s violations of premature rules.

Read more on:    sassa  |  cps  |  bathabile dlamini  |  judiciary  |  social grants

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