Social grant beneficiaries will continue to be paid on time even beyond April 2017, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has announced.
Assurance by the agency that it would continue paying beneficiaries followed concerns raised by the public regarding what would happen after the current social grant payment contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) expired. The current contract will expire at the end of March.
In April 2014, the Constitutional Court declared the current CPS Sassa contract invalid for the payment of social grants.
The ruling by the Constitutional Court, declaring the R10 billion contract with CPS invalid, followed a long legal challenge by losing bidder AllPay Consolidated Investment Holdings.
Subsequently, the Constitutional Court ordered Sassa to initiate a new tender process for the payment of welfare grants, but said the current contract-holder, CPS, had to continue to carry out its obligations.
Paseka Letsatsi, spokesperson of Sassa, said a task team had been set up to look at how Sassa could take over the payment of social grants internally. The task team was set up by the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, in line with the Constitutional Court ruling.
Letsatsi said Sassa had been inundated with concerns regarding what would happen after the current social grant payment contract with CPS expired at the end of March.
“Consultations were held with various stakeholders in an effort to determine what the best model would be and a solution had to be found in order to minimise potential unintended consequences. That process took unexpectedly long, given the competing business and other interests of interested parties,” said Letsatsi.
“Sassa also has a responsibility to deliver a quality service to beneficiaries without system hiccups. Therefore, it had to follow a thorough process to determine the best solution. We are currently finalising consultations with the Reserve Bank and the National Treasury.
“Given the nature of the essential service Sassa provides, there is a need for an efficient and tested solution as well as a matching, sizeable human and material investment.
“These are some of the realities Sassa is facing, which will be detailed when Sassa goes public on the whole matter this week. Sassa will ensure that its grants are received unencumbered as required by the Social Assistance Act.”
Letsatsi said the agency would present its plan on how social grants will be paid out as from April 2017 to the Social Development Portfolio Committee. This presentation to the committee is expected to be made in parliament today (01/02).