/ 8 March 2018

Sassa, Post Office to give briefing on progress in social grant payments migration

"On April 1
"On April 1

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office (SAPO) are on Thursday expected to brief the media on the progress they’ve made towards the payment of social grants.

The briefing is scheduled to take place at the offices of the Government Communication Information System in Pretoria.

Sassa has less than a month to fully migrate core components of the grants scheme from Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), as ordered by the Constitutional Court, to SAPO, as agreed in December 2017.

The Constitutional Court heard on Tuesday that Sassa did not have alternative plans if the court refused to extend the CPS contract by another six months.

The agency had argued that about 2.8-million beneficiaries would not get their grant payments if the contract with CPS was not extended.

The contract expires on March 31.

Sassa said it was 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.

Worry over cash payments

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

He questioned why the agency only approached the court in February and not in December 2017, when it became aware that an extension would be needed.

Last Wednesday, newly appointed Minister of Social Development Susan Shabangu and acting Sassa CEO Pearl Bhengu appeared in Parliament to update MPs on Sassa and the department’s state of readiness to migrate the nation’s social grants scheme from CPS by April 1.

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

“On April 1, everyone will be paid, whether CPS is here or not. The only problem may be at the [cash] pay points,” she said. — News24