Dlamini rules out Post Of­fice for pay­outs of so­cial grants

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Zo­lile Men­zelwa

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.

Pic­ture: GUGU PHANDLE

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

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