Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Sassa: There will be chaos if CPS contract is not extended, court hears

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) does not have alternative plans if the court refuses to extend the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract by another six months, the Constitutional Court heard on Tuesday.

“There will be chaos,” Nazeer Cassim, the advocate for Sassa, argued before a full Bench.

Justice Johan Froneman responded: “So you come to us, basically giving this court no choice.”

It’s déjà vu: Grant payments in crisis

Cassim conceded that there were no plans in place.

Sassa wants the highest court in the country to extend the CPS contract by six months.

Roughly 2.8-million beneficiaries will not get their grant payments if the contract with CPS is not extended, the agency argued in court papers.

The contract expires on March 31 2018.

Sassa is concerned about 29% of grant beneficiaries, mostly living in rural areas, who depend on cash deliveries of their social grants – a service that is currently provided by CPS.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng questioned why the agency only approached the court in February and not in December 2017, when they were aware that an extension would be needed.

Cassim responded that the agency “genuinely believed they had their act together”. He added that the agency also needed the input of the National Treasury.

Newly-appointed Minister of Social Development Susan Shabangu and acting Sassa CEO Pearl Bhengu were among those who attended Tuesday’s proceedings.

‘This is sad’

Mogoeng pointed out that, after years of saying the contract with CPS was unlawful, the agency was still approaching the court for relief.

“This is sad. It is like we are being laughed at by Sassa. It is sad. We are just expressing our frustrations to your clients (Sassa),” he said.

Last Wednesday, Bhengu and Shabangu appeared in Parliament to update MPs on Sassa’s and the department’s state of readiness to migrate the nation’s social grants scheme from CPS by April 1.

Sassa has less than a month in which to fully migrate core components of the grants scheme from CPS, as ordered by the Constitutional Court, to the South African Post Office (SAPO), as agreed in December 2017.

Bhengu assured MPs that all payments starting from April, would come from Sassa’s corporate account and not CPS’s. This includes payments to the 5.7-million people who have Grindrod Bank cards.

READ MORE: Sassa a mess on all fronts, experts warn

“On April 1, everyone will be paid, whether CPS is here or not. The only problem may be at the [cash] pay points.

The Constitutional Court ruled last month that CPS may participate in future Sassa tender processes, as allowed for by the law.

CPS had argued it was not consistent to bar the company from bidding for all future tenders as a result of its current contract being declared invalid. – News24

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Jeanette Chabalala
Jeanette Chabalala
Sports Fanatic,Current affairs Junkie,News24 Journalist.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Court to hear challenge to dissolution of Umgeni Water board

The water and sanitation minister allegedly acted beyond her powers, former board members argue

More top stories

Covid jab tech helps fight malaria

An estimated two-thirds of malaria deaths are among children under the age of five, most of them in Africa.

Learners moving to other provinces puts education departments under pressure

Gauteng and the Western Cape struggle to put children in class, but Limpopo and the Eastern Cape are closing schools as enrolment plummets

New membership system encounters problems in ANC branches

The Lower South Coast region has complained of a plot by some branch secretaries to manipulate the system

Police analyst implicated in R600k fraud scheme

But the forensic analyst has also claimed to be a victim of identity fraud
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×