ConCourt wants Sassa to explain alternative grants payment scheme

The Constitutional Court has asked the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to provide reasons why an alternative payment scheme, recently suggested by its expert panel, is feasible.

The alternative payments scheme was suggested two weeks ago by the expert panel set up by Sassa and Black Sash under the supervision of the court.

In its second feedback report, the panel suggested a seemingly simpler way to deal with the short-term problems facing the migration of the social grants scheme – four months before the April 1, 2018, deadline.

The scheme would rely on South Africa’s well developed and regulated electronic payment systems, which account for 80% of all social grant transactions currently.

On Wednesday, the court asked Sassa and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to provide reasons why the alternative scheme could be implemented by the April 1 deadline.

The court would require this by Sassa’s next quarterly report, due on December 18.

“If they are feasible, the minister and Sassa must report by January 15 how they intend to set up a system of direct payments into beneficiary bank accounts from Sassa’s own corporate bank account…” the directive reads.

Sassa would also need to provide a contingency for the 20% of grant recipients who would still require cash payments.

The expert panel suggested extending the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract for six more months to handle only the cash portion of the system.

Probe into Sassa employees

The panel had also recommended that Sassa officials be investigated over their conduct in the delayed and stalled progress of the grants scheme.

It suggested that the National Treasury handle the investigation, also probing the social development department for possible prosecution.

All instances, since 2016, where Sassa issued contracts to service providers should be probed, and all documents should be handed over without delay, the report said.

The court has asked the panel to clarify if the probe would still be necessary by January 29, after all the other submissions had been made.

Sassa has been locked in protracted talks with the South African Post Office (SAPO) and commercial banks this year in an effort to develop a “hybrid” model to distribute grants by the deadline.

The talks have been stalled and delayed a number of times, with a formal service agreement still not signed, but with an implementation protocol signed off for the Post Office to come on board.

The electronic payment alternative would solve the immediate problems faced by this hybrid model, the expert panel suggested.

The Constitutional Court has also asked Sassa to provide an update on the agreement with the Post Office by December 8. – News24

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Paul Herman
Paul Herman works from London. London based Songwriter/Producer. Paul has written songs for Artists like Dido, Emeli Sande, Corinne Bailey Rae, Eminem, Izzy Bizu, Raleigh Ritchie... Paul Herman has over 260 followers on Twitter.

Meet the doctor leading Africa’s fight to contain the coronavirus...

Dr Matshidiso Moeti’s father helped to eliminate smallpox. Now she’s leading Africa’s efforts against the coronavirus

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world