Minister for Social Development Susan Shabangu has promised South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grants will continue to be paid and that its obligations to the Constitutional Court will be met.
Shabangu delivered her department’s budget vote speech in Parliament on Wednesday. She promised that her recent suspension of Sassa tender processes won’t scupper their ability to comply with the court’s order.
The minister suspended tender processes to find a replacement for current invalid service provider of cash payments, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), last month, citing challenges with the specifications.
“When I took office on February 26 this year, I was confronted by the Sassa tender matter. This included the process of a tender for beneficiaries that receive their social assistance in cash,” she said.
“However, the tender has been suspended due to identified challenges in the process and the suspension has been reported to the Constitutional Court.
“A final decision on the status of the tender will be made in due course.”
Sassa has less than five months to find a replacement to deliver cash grants by the September 30 deadline.
“I want to assure South Africans that we will comply with the Constitutional Court order to ensure that our beneficiaries continue to receive their social grants at all times.
“Social grants were paid in April — they are being paid in May and will continue to be paid. We will fulfil this mandate because we are a government that cares,” she said.
She also said that Sassa was working with the South African Post Office, which inherited most of the banking functions from CPS since April 1, to successfully swop out old Sassa cards.
This has been happening since April and will continue, she said.
Civil society group Black Sash raised concerns at the time of the tender suspension that delays to find a suitable replacement for CPS could mean the deadline won’t be met.
They said the country was working with “shifting deadlines” yet again, as no new timeframes have been given regarding the tender.
The NGO urged Shabangu to put in place a contingency plan for cash payments to avoid another extension of the invalid CPS contract. — News24