Gordhan accepts Scopa invite to address Sassa crisis

2017-03-10 13:00
Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan (Netwerk24)

Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan (Netwerk24)

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WATCH: The Sassa crisis explained

2017-03-10 11:01

The SASSA debacle traces back to 2012, when a R10 billion contract was awarded to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).WATCH

Cape Town - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has accepted an invitation to attend a standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) meeting next week to discuss the looming social grants crisis.

Scopa confirmed on Friday that it had received a letter from Gordhan indicating his intention to account before the committee this Tuesday.

Committee chairperson Themba Godi said the meeting would help clear up Treasury's stance on the proposed new contract with current grants service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

"The committee is looking forward to this engagement to get a complete picture of what led to this crisis and how it is being resolved," Godi said.

Godi said the committee's main concern was that the approval of grant payments for April 1 be done according to the prescripts of the laws governing public procurement.

He also insisted that those responsible for the current crisis must be held accountable.

The African National Congress on Wednesday said Treasury would not act illegally and approve a new welfare distribution deal with Net1 UEPS Technologies, CPS's parent company, unless it is sanctioned by the Constitutional Court.

"It's even exaggerated to think that people won't be paid by April 1. They will be paid, but the manner in which it will be done may not be legal," ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

'Who is at fault?' - ConCourt

The Constitutional Court on Wednesday requested urgent clarity from the Department of Social Development and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) on the matter.

The court posed stern questions, saying it wanted to know exactly when it had dawned on Sassa that it was not going to have its own grants payment system in place by the time the CPS contract expired on March 31.

It also wants to know who was at fault. The answers are required by 16:00 on Monday.

The social development department welcomed the Constitutional Court's request for more information on Wednesday.

"We have always contended that the Constitutional Court is best placed to deal with the matter at hand because social assistance in South Africa is a human right enshrined in the Constitution," the department said.

The portfolio committee on social development, meanwhile, apologised for its oversight role in the lead up to the crisis.

"The committee is extremely concerned about the pain inflicted on the people and relatives of all social grant recipients, which implies that they may not be paid due to this debacle," chairperson Rose Capa said on Wednesday.

"If the process is stalled, we will be the first to know. We wish to offer our apology as a committee for the crisis which threatens to destroy the lifeline of our own."

Read more on:    sassa  |  pravin gordhan  |  parliament 2017

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