Dlamini rules out Post Office for payouts of social grants
THE Department of Social Development is forced to outsource the payment of grants to other service providers, but not to the SA Post Office (Sapo) as earlier recommended.
This was the word from Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini at a media conference at the East London ICC yesterday as part of her commitment to keep South Africans abreast of plans the department had of finding suitable service providers to pay out social grants from next year.
The Constitutional Court earlier this year ruled that the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) should work on ensuring that a service provider was in place by April.
This came after the court extended the contract of Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) until March.
The court had ruled in 2014 the process to appoint CPS to take over social grants was illegal.
Dlamini said the department would advertise a tender on Friday, calling for service providers to bid for the contract because Sapo, which had been punted as a grants service provider, did not tick all the boxes.
“The Postbank does not have a fully fledged banking licence. This means Sapo cannot settle and acquire,” Dlamini said.
The idea that pay points should simply shut down and recipients be forced out of their communities to receive their social grants contravenes their constitutional right to receive their grants with dignity.
Sassa standards dictate that beneficiaries should be within a 5km radius.
“We are still committed to eliminating queues, cash heists and loss of life of grant beneficiaries at pay points,” Dlamini said.
Sassa would initiate another procurement process from Friday to secure the services which Sapo could not offer.
Sassa was allowed by the national Treasury to deviate from normal procurement processes in July to procure the services of social grants directly from Sapo.
Dlamini said as a government agency, the Post Office had been given first preference.
“In its request for proposal request, Sassa required four services from Sapo as a potential service provider – which were provision of an integrated payment system, banking services, card body production and provision of cash payment services.”
Dlamini said Sassa could only provide the first service.
The evaluation process had incorporated the technical due diligence findings conducted by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research to determine the ability of Sapo to perform the requirements, Dlamini said.
As a result, Sassa would go on tender for the other services.
“Sassa will initiate another procurement process to secure the three services which Sapo is not capable of providing.
“This procurement process will be concluded on the last week of February 2018 and an award will be announced,” she said.
Sassa also assured grant recipients that their cards would still work after December.
Sapo was awarded the provision of a payment system with conditions, including providing a written confirmation of its financial reserves and that quoted prices be subjected to negotiations.
“On the requirement to provide card body production and distribution, the bid evaluation process discovered that Sapo can only produce 2.4 million cards per annum, as opposed to the minimum requirement of 4.2 million.”
Another element that could not be awarded to Sapo was the provisioning of the banking services, Dlamini said.
THE UPDATE: Briefing the media are, from left, Sassa acting chief executive Pearl Bengu, Minister Bathabile Dlamini and the department’s Eastern Cape regional manager, Oscar Mpeta