Sassa: There will be chaos if CPS contract is not extended, court hears

Johannesburg - South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) does not have alternative plans if the court refuses to extend the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract by another six months, the Constitutional Court heard on Tuesday. 

"There will be chaos," Nazeer Cassim, the advocate for Sassa, argued before a full Bench.  

Justice Johan Froneman responded: "So you come to us, basically giving this court no choice."

Cassim conceded that there were no plans in place. 

Sassa wants the highest court in the country to extend the CPS contract by six months. 

READ: ConCourt set to hear Sassa case on CPS contract extension

Roughly 2.8 million beneficiaries will not get their grant payments if the contract with CPS is not extended, the agency argued in court papers.

The contract expires on March 31, 2018.

Sassa is concerned about 29% of grant beneficiaries, mostly living in rural areas, who depend on cash deliveries of their social grants - a service that is currently provided by CPS.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng questioned why the agency only approached the court in February and not in December 2017, when they were aware that an extension would be needed.

Cassim responded that the agency "genuinely believed they had their act together".  He added that the agency also needed the input of the National Treasury. 

Newly-appointed Minister of Social Development Susan Shabangu and acting Sassa CEO Pearl Bhengu were among those who attended Tuesday's proceedings.

'This is sad'

Mogoeng pointed out that, after years of saying the contract with CPS was unlawful, the agency was still approaching the court for relief. 

"This is sad. It is like we are being laughed at by Sassa. It is sad. We are just expressing our frustrations to your clients (Sassa)," he said. 

Last Wednesday, Bhengu and Shabangu appeared in Parliament to update MPs on Sassa's and the department's state of readiness to migrate the nation's social grants scheme from CPS by April 1.

ALSO READ: Shabangu in charge of Sassa migration for now - Cabinet

Sassa has less than a month in which to fully migrate core components of the grants scheme from CPS, as ordered by the Constitutional Court, to the South African Post Office (SAPO), as agreed in December 2017.

Bhengu assured MPs that all payments starting from April, would come from Sassa's corporate account and not CPS's. This includes payments to the 5.7 million people who have Grindrod Bank cards.

"On April 1, everyone will be paid, whether CPS is here or not. The only problem may be at the [cash] pay points.

The Constitutional Court ruled in February that CPS may participate in future Sassa tender processes, as allowed for by the law.

CPS had argued it was not consistent to bar the company from bidding for all future tenders as a result of its current contract being declared invalid.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Matric results are out! Are you happy with your child's result?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, the pandemic really messed up their ability to focus
33% - 415 votes
Yes, they did well given the circumstances
67% - 857 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.31
-1.4%
Rand - Pound
20.65
-0.8%
Rand - Euro
17.34
-1.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.92
-0.7%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-1.2%
Gold
1,838.95
+0.2%
Silver
23.80
-2.0%
Palladium
2,158.20
+2.2%
Platinum
1,024.23
-0.9%
Brent Crude
87.89
-0.6%
Top 40
65,653
-3.9%
All Share
72,164
-3.7%
Resource 10
71,479
-4.8%
Industrial 25
90,959
-3.5%
Financial 15
14,713
-2.5%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE