Put grants tender on ice

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) was set up to reduce inefficiency, fraud and corruption in the government’s immense programme of cash transfers to poor people.

It was meant to streamline delivery, beef up security and eliminate ­controversy over competing tenders for the lucrative business of disbursing money to pensioners and the recipients of child and disability grants.

Right now, however, Sassa itself is at the centre of a growing controversy over its own procurement processes. The tender to distribute more than R100-billion of grants annually — from the remote valleys of the Eastern Cape to the townships of Gauteng — is itself worth about R10billion, which puts it among the biggest government contracts.

It also places it among the most bitterly contested. Disappointed bidder Allpay, which is controlled by Absa, is fighting in court against the ­awarding of the tender to its rival, Cash Paymaster Services, citing numerous irregularities.

Meanwhile, the Mail & Guardian has revealed over the past month a series of governance failures, conflicts of interest and the offer of an “open-chequebook bribe” at various stages of a fraught, on-and-off process.

This week we show how the shadow of Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale hangs over Cash Paymaster Services, albeit through a company linked to men who are his proxies in other ventures. Added to what we have already reported about the roles of President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, sports administrator Gideon Sam and National Development Agency chief executive Vuyelwa Nhlapo and the procedural concerns raised by Allpay in its court papers, these details make it impossible to have any faith at all in the process.

The department of social development should immediately halt further implementation of the contract until the murk can be cleared and confidence in the decision-making process rebuilt.


Workers fight job-creation ‘mess’

Former Ekurhuleni workers argued in court that a programme promising to equip them with skills simply acted as a labour broker for the municipality

Court dissolves local municipality

Landmark judgment paves the way for South Africans to use legal system to hold councils responsible

Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.