Social grants dispute resolved

2009-03-26 09:47
Johannesburg - All social grants will be paid in April after a dispute between the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) and service providers was resolved on Wednesday, said Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya.

"[Sassa] has concluded negotiations and agreed on 12-month contract extensions with the three service providers contracted to pay social grants - CPS, All Pay and Empilweni," said the minister in a statement.

"This means that social grants payments will not be disrupted at [all]. April payments will be paid without interruptions."

Earlier on Wednesday, a dispute arose from a Treasury decision that the three companies which transport the cash for the grants only be given interim one year contracts pending the publication of new tenders when their old contracts expired this month.

The Department of Social Development said the other two companies - Empilweni and Allpay - had agreed that payment would be effected for the month of April.

But, Cash Paymaster Services apparently would not effect the payments unless granted a two-year contract with the same terms and conditions as the expiring contracts, said departmental spokesperson Zanele Mngadi.

Once the matter was resolved late on Wednesday, Skweyiya said the ministry was pleased because most beneficiaries of the grants were solely dependent on them to "put food on the table".

"They cannot afford not to get paid even for one day. We were not going to rest until a solution was found," he said.

Skweyiya assigned the Director General of Social Development, Vusi Madonsela, and the CEO of SASSA, Fezile Makiwane, to find an urgent solution to the issue.

April will be the first month that people receive the increases allocated in the recent budget.

Those receiving old age, disability and care dependency grants will receive an extra R50, bringing their income to R1 010 a month, for example.

Social grants are known to be shared among an entire family, or with more needy neighbours, and were often not just for the personal use of the recipient.

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