Sassa will be ready by April 1 - Cabinet

2018-03-15 16:12
Sassa head office. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images)

Sassa head office. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images)

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Cape Town – Despite information before the courts that the contingency plan to pay social grants by April 1 would not be ready, the Cabinet says it is satisfied that the beneficiaries of social grants will be paid on this date.

"Cabinet was briefed on the state of readiness by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to provide the hybrid model in the distribution of social grants to beneficiaries on 1 April 2018. This is in line with the Constitutional Court judgment that ordered the extension of the current contract with the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) up until 31 March 2018," it said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement, following Cabinet's Wednesday meeting, was delivered by Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane.

"Cabinet reiterates its commitment to government’s social assistance programme, which is at the heart of our poverty-alleviation initiatives and central to restoring the dignity of our people. It is satisfied that the beneficiaries of social grants will be paid on 1 April 2018."

However, Sassa admitted in court papers filed on Monday that there was no feasible solution to assist around 2.8 million beneficiaries - roughly 26% of the scheme, who receive their grants in cash - before the April 1 deadline.

It asked the Constitutional Court last week to extend the contract of current invalid service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) for a further six months so that it could continue making the cash payments.

The Portfolio Committee on Social Development heard on Wednesday that the contingency plan would only be ready by July.

READ: New cash payments service provider only ready by July

Quizzed about this, Mokonyane said the inter-ministerial committee dealing with Sassa had been "hard at work to deal with these issues".

'Offices will be open and ready'

She said the number of 2.8 million had been reduced to about 780 000 and that the inter-ministerial committee would meet again on Thursday to find a solution for them.

She said the 780 000 beneficiaries were not in the banking system and "cannot be moved to other options". They are mostly in rural areas.

The Cabinet statement also said that the current Sassa cards remained valid until December 2018.

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

"The process of changing the beneficiary cards will be done in a seamless manner that will not disrupt the payment of grants. All beneficiaries who receive their grants through their respective paypoints which includes commercial banks, South Post Office and other retailers.

"Cabinet calls on those who do not have bank accounts to visit their nearest South African Post Office (SAPO) branches to open their accounts.

"Cabinet has instructed Sassa, together with the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), to do everything possible to inform all the beneficiaries of any possible changes that may take place in the process of transition from CPS to the new hybrid model.

"Cabinet remains committed to ensuring government adheres to the ConCourt judgment. Sassa offices will be open and ready to process the new applications.

"Cabinet urges all members of the public, especially beneficiaries and their families, to contact Sassa on 0800 60 10 11 or visit their nearest Sassa office for more information."

Read more on:    sassa  |  cps  |  sapo  |  nomvula mokonyane

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