Cape Town - The South African Social Security Agency says a good presentation recently made by the South African Post Office has moved them a step closer to assist with the social grants scheme.
Sassa project lead Zodwa Mvulane and CEO Thokozani Magwaza told MPs on Wednesday that talks with the Post Office were progressing at a good rate, following a workshop held last week.
A memorandum of understanding was in place with the post office following their "good and encouraging" presentation, they told the portfolio committee on social development.
Sassa will now look to starting the procurement process formally through Treasury, to ascertain what areas the Post Office will and won't be able to cover.
For those criteria it cannot meet, a new service provider can be expected by November following a Request for Proposal, Mvulane said.
Current service provider Cash Paymaster Services will be phased out increasingly from November to the March 2018 deadline thereafter, to ensure a smooth transition.
'Experienced, wide reach, infrastructure'
The post office's case included that it was already an established pay channel, and was known as an experienced payment provider.
It also had experience of operating as a bank, and beneficiary data would be secured within another branch of government.
It had trusted Telkom support on technology and connectivity and had a 98% connectivity coverage in the country. It would also bring other government institutions on board and improve their respective infrastructures.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said it would be good for the committee to call the post office in too to present before them.
African National Congress MP Patrick Mabilo said he couldn't be happier to see the "demise of CPS". He also praised Sassa for its progress from the last meeting.
Inkatha Freedom Party MP Liesl Van der Merwe said it was positive that the SAPO talks have progressed, but wanted to know whether their presentation has been costed.
She also wanted to know how many grant recipient complaints Sassa receives in a month, and how many are resolved.
Committee chairperson Rose Capa protected the department from answering immediately, and would do so via written questions.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini meanwhile said Parliament should summon CPS if it had questions about the company's profit posting for the last financial year.
The Constitutional Court made it clear in its March ruling that CPS is effectively an arm of government when doing business with the State, and can account in the same manner, she told the portfolio committee on social development.