Sassa, Post Office agreement date pushed back again

2017-11-08 10:37
Jeff Radebe, Minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. (Photo: GCIS)

Jeff Radebe, Minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. (Photo: GCIS)

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Cape Town – The striking of the elusive deal between the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office (SAPO) has been pushed back yet again.

MPs at a joint meeting in Parliament on Tuesday heard that an offer to the Post Office to build an integrated IT payment system for a new "hybrid" social grants scheme would be fast-tracked.

However, no mention was made of the other three services required by the hybrid system: banking services, production of new cards and cash distribution of grants.

The project plan and details of the agreement will now be negotiated and drafted by an "intervention team" chaired by director-general of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Nompumelelo Mpofu.

ALSO READ: Sassa's time is running out

MPs were addressed by the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on social security, chaired by Minister Jeff Radebe, after it received an intervention report from National Treasury on the stalled deal this week.

Latest 'intervention team'

"The IMC noted the intervention of the parliamentary committees and the public anxiety that has arisen due to the delay in the finalisation of the appointment of an entity to pay social grants," he said from a statement.

Radebe said the latest "intervention team" would include Sassa, SAPO, Home Affairs and State Security, and will report weekly to the IMC.

ALSO READ: 5 months to go and SA no closer to Sassa grants solution

It will formulate a project plan by next Friday, November 17, including the drawing up of a contract, a risk assessment and other logistical issues.

"The approach will focus on the consolidation of the respective strengths of each entity and possible additional capacity from other parties."

Essentially, if a deal can't be agreed on, for instance, banking services, Sassa will look at bringing in other partners, such as commercial banks, via procurement processes.

Radebe wanted to assure South Africans that no Sassa cards would expire on the December 31 deadline.

As government, they were committed to implementing a new social grants payment system before March 31, 2018.

Radebe said that government will be the main drivers of the process. Once the project plan's details have been agreed, they will then see if they need to initiate procurement processes with commercial banks.

SAPO CEO Mark Barnes told journalists after that he is more hopeful, but the deal is not done and dusted. They must still decide on what aspects the Post Office will manage, and it needed to make economic sense.

He was happy though that the IMC had pronounced on the matter.

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Read more on:    parliament  |  sassa  |  sapo  |  cape town  |  service delivery  |  grants

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