We won't meet deadline on social grants - Dlamini

2017-02-22 12:04
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini (Netwerk24, file)

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini (Netwerk24, file)

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Cape Town - Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has insisted that everyone will be paid their grant come April 1, despite telling MPs that her department would not be able to make the deadline on finding a new service provider.

This, she told Parliament on Wednesday, was despite the fact that the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) payment contract was expected to "die a natural death" at the end of March.

The minister admitted that they would not be able to make the deadline set by Parliament, and were currently in negotiations to extend the contract with the current service provider, Cash Paymaster Services.

They were seeking an extension of about 18 to 24 months, as part of the phase in/phase out process, Dlamini said.

The contract with service providers CPS and Net1 was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2014. The court instructed the Department of Social Development to begin a process of insourcing the administrative requirements to handle the distribution all of the country's grants.

"And, looking at the recommendations of Treasury, we are not going to make the deadlines suggested in the last meeting of the portfolio committee,” Dlamini said.

When they presented to the committee earlier in February, a confident Dlamini said they were still in negotiations with Treasury and that was why she was "jittery" about presenting something that had not yet been endorsed by Treasury.

She said she did not want to pass the buck to Treasury.

READ: The inside battle for R120bn social grants distribution tender

'Process of negotiating'

They had come a long way in their negotiations with Treasury, she said, and were sometimes "agreeing to disagree".

But, whatever happened with the contract and the negotiation, grants would be paid, she said.

"We are also in the process of negotiating with current service provider. What we want to do is to ensure that the current contract is not taken as is, because we do have some disadvantages with this other contract."

The disadvantages and challenges included illegal deductions from grant recipients, she said.

She also said they would like to see the Post Office getting involved in the process.

The department told the committee that a letter requesting deviation to enter into a new contract with CPS had been sent to Treasury on February 7.

Treasury had said it would consider the request favourably, only if the Constitutional Court acceded to the Sassa request, the committee was told.

Read more on:    sassa  |  bathabile dlamini  |  parliament 2017  |  social grants

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