Sassa's R1bn IT bill

2017-03-29 16:12


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Cape Town - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) currently has contracts with various information and communication technology service providers worth over R1bn, a parliamentary reply has revealed.

Sassa will spend roughly R1.18bn in total on 27 different ICT contracts currently in effect, and running for a period of between 2-5 years, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said on Wednesday.

She was responding to a question from Democratic Alliance MP Johanna Edwards, who had also asked when the tenders had been advertised, and for how long each contract would last.

The biggest contract is a three-year one, for SOCPEN hosting, worth R331m. SOCPEN is the information management system through which the grants are processed.

Other high-paying contracts were for Oracle programmes, implementation of the Sassa Scanning Solution, and Microsoft licences.

Dlamini indicated that all contracts had received certified service level agreement signatures, as required by law.

No long-term grants plan yet

In response to another question, Dlamini told DA MP Tim Brauteseth that Sassa had not presented any business model to the National Treasury yet for a long-term solution for the social grants scheme.

It would present a long-term case in due course, and the funds would be taken from Sassa's surplus funds, and not its existing budget.

The Constitutional Court ruled on March 17 that the illegal contract between current grants service provider CPS and Sassa be extended for one more year, while Sassa looked for a new service provider.

In more replies on Tuesday, Dlamini revealed Sassa had spent more than R3m to accommodate managers who were sent to regional offices in preparation for the agency’s eventual failed bid to take over payment of grants.

Fourteen senior managers were seconded from April 1, 2015, to January 31, 2017, while a further four were seconded from February 1, 2017, to the present day to help them gain experience in the grants system, and to upskill staff.

All were accommodated in hotels and furnished apartments, at an estimated cost of R3 097 998.

The department said last week that grants would be paid on April 3, now that the contract with CPS has been legally extended.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts meanwhile paid the South African Post Office (Sapo) an oversight visit on Wednesday.

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said they were satisfied with SAPO's presentation that, were it to be called upon by Sassa to assist with the grants scheme after the CPS contract expires, it would be ready to help.

Read more on:    sassa  |  bathabile dlamini

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