Deadline extended for new Sassa tender


Johannesburg - Electronic payment systems company Net1 says the Constitutional Court has extended the deadline for bidders looking to submit proposals for the country’s new social grants tender.

A South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) spokesperson has also confirmed to Fin24 that the the closing date for country's grant payment tender proposals is now 27 February 2015 and not 12 December 2014 as previously planned. This follows a Constitutional Court bid by Net1 to challenge Sassa's updated requirements for the tender.

In April, the Constitutional Court ordered Sassa to re-issue the country’s five-year R10bn grants tender, which was awarded to Net1 division Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) in 2012.

Net1's CPS won the deal to electronically disburse social grant payments to recipients via the likes of MasterCard debit cards in partnership with Grindrod Bank.

The Constitutional Court, though, slammed Sassa for its “irregular” conduct regarding the Net1 deal as allegations of corruption swirled around the deal. Net1 has also come under fire for selling loans and prepaid airtime products to social grant recipients.

Sassa subsequently tightened up requirements for the new social grant tender by disallowing activities such as deducting amounts from recipients for loan repayments.

Sassa also then issued a request for proposals (RFP) on 22 October asking bidders to submit for the tender by 12 December.

But Net1, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and the Nasdaq in the US, challenged Sassa’s new requirements by heading to the Constitutional Court last month. The company said the requirements need to be made more clear to avoid future confusion.

Net1 chairperson and CEO Serge Belamant also told Fin24 last month that his company plans on applying for the new tender.

And Net1 said on Monday in a company announcement that the court issued the following directives on December 5 that say Sassa must:

1. Extend the deadline for the submission of bids to February 27 2015.

2. Finalise its proposed amendments to the RFP by December 15 2014 and file a copy of the draft amended RFP with the court by December 20 2014.

3. Circulate the draft amended RFP to all litigating parties and all the other bidders by December 20 2014. Net1 says the court said that “the draft amended RFP must highlight all the changes made in response to this application and to the questions posed by those bidders who sought to obtain clarity through the written question and answer procedure contained in the RFP”.

4. Issue a bidder’s notice calling upon all bidders to furnish objections or questions to the draft amended RFP to Sassa by January 15 2015.

5. The litigating parties may, if they so choose, file further short affidavits in the application itself by January 20 2015, according to Net1’s statement.

6. “The litigating parties may, if they so choose, file further written submissions, not longer than 20 pages, on any issue that may remain after the process set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 above has been completed, by January 27, 2015,” the statement from Net1 reads.

* Follow @GarethvanZyl on Twitter. For more tech news, follow Fin24tech @Fin24_Tech.

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