ConCourt demands clarity on Sassa, Post Office contingency plans

2018-03-10 12:40
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(File)

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Johannesburg – The Constitutional Court has demanded that both the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office (SAPO) clarify the contingency measures put in place to deal with the payment of social grants.

This follows after the Constitutional Court reserved judgment earlier this week in an application by Sassa to have its contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) extended by another six months.

In a strongly worded directive, both Sassa and the SA Post Office have been ordered to lodge affidavits and written explanations, of no more than 10 pages, to explain why neither party had informed the court about the contingency plans that were in place, and yet announced the plan to the media two days later.

The affidavits need to be filed by Monday.

The directive, which was circulated on social media on Saturday, and the authenticity, of which was confirmed by the court's spokesperson Nathi Mncube, said both Sassa and SAPO had denied that there were contingency plans.

"During the hearing on Tuesday, 6 March 2018, and in the presence of their senior officials, this court was informed that there were no contingency plans which could be put into operation in the event of that the extension was not granted," it read.

In fact, Nazeer Cassim, the advocate for Sassa, told a full Bench that "there will be chaos" if the contract was not extended, the statement read.

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

At the time, Chief Justice Mogoeng 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," he said.

The directive then pointed out that after telling the court there were no contingencies in place, two days later it announced a contingency plan in a media briefing.

"Information on the contingency plan announced at a press conference on Thursday, 8 March 2018 was withheld from the court, despite the fact that the court had asked for it at the hearing," the directive reads.

At the press conference, Sassa said there was a contingency plan for beneficiaries who needed cash payments if the Constitutional Court refused to extend the CPS contract, but it warned that it would "be inconvenient".

Acting Sassa CEO Pearl Bhengu assured journalists that Sassa would pay directly into all beneficiary accounts come April 1, and that it would be reflected on their cards.

Sassa has 'inconvenient' Plan B if ConCourt says no to CPS extension

SA Post Office (SAPO) CEO Mark Barnes confirmed on Saturday that SAPO would be submitting an affidavit to the Constitutional Court on Monday.

"We will, of course, submit the required affidavit - I have already submitted a first draft for our council to consider," he said.

Attempts to get comment from Sassa were unsuccessful.

Read more on:    sassa  |  sapo  |  johannesburg  |  service delivery  |  social grants  |  courts

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