ConCourt must keep an eye on Sassa/CPS deal - Black Sash

2017-03-06 14:40
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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Cape Town - The Black Sash will ask the Constitutional Court to oversee the Sassa grant payments system when the court hears its application regarding the proposed extension of Cash Paymaster Services' (CPS) contract, the organisation said on Monday.

"It would seem that Parliament has failed the poorest and most vulnerable South Africans," the organisation said in a statement.

"We are now left with no option but to appeal to the highest court in the land."

The Black Sash wants the Constitutional Court to resume its oversight of the processes around the payment of the grants, after the Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini provided scant details on the proposed extension of the contract to CPS to pay SA Social Security Agency grants.

Explaining the background, Black Sash said Sassa had contracted CPS in 2012 to make the grant payments on government's behalf, but in 2013 the Constitutional Court had declared that contract invalid.

READ: Sassa's 3 phase plan to take over grant payments

Revised CPS contract

The order of invalidity was suspended in April 2014 and, on November 5, 2015, Sassa told the Constitutional Court that it would not award a new contract.

Instead, it would take over the grant payments from April 1, 2017, when the suspension of invalidity would lapse. After that, the Constitutional Court ended its "supervisory" role in the matter.

However, Sassa is not ready to take over the grant payments and it has apparently entered into a revised or new contract with CPS to make sure everybody is paid on April 1. It also has a "three-phase plan" to phase out CPS, which could take years.

Black Sash said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had stated that an extended or new contract with CPS would be unlawful and uncompetitive, because it deviates from procurement processes.

He would not sanction it unless the Constitutional Court approved it.

Sassa announced that it would approach the court to have the new arrangement approved, but has since withdrawn the application.

It said it would just report to the Constitutional Court before the end of March on what it had done.

The Black Sash lodged an urgent application with the Constitutional Court so that it could have oversight of the new agreement before it is a "fait accompli".

The matter is expected to be heard in Johannesburg on March 15.

Read more on:    sassa  |  black sash  |  judiciary  |  social grants

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