Sassa pledges grants will be paid

Afro Voice (National Edition) - - POLITICS - DEN­NIS CRUYWAGEN news@the­

AS THE new So­cial Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter, Su­san Sha­bangu, was brief­ing the Cab­i­net about con­tin­gency plans for the pay­ment of so­cial grants on April 1, the South African So­cial Se­cu­rity Agency (Sassa) was adamant grants will be paid.

Dianne Dunker­ley, Sassa’s ex­ec­u­tive man­ager of grants ad­min­is­tra­tion, gave the as­sur­ance to the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on so­cial devel­op­ment in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day. She made this pledge as the Con­sti­tu­tional Court is con­sid­er­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion from Sassa to ex­tend the con­tract of the present ser­vice provider Cash Pay­mas­ter Ser­vices (CPS).

The CPS con­tract ex­pires at the end of March. There have been fears that mil­lions of so­cial grant re­cip­i­ents, who take their grants in cash, would be at risk if the Con­sti­tu­tional Court turns down Sassa’s re­quest.

How­ever, ap­prais­ing the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee, Dunker­ley said: “Peo­ple will be paid in April, our call cen­tres will be open on April 1 and 2. Pay­ment will hap­pen and pay­ment will start on April 1.”

Sassa has made con­tin­gency plans, she said but asked the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee not to ask her for more de­tails be­cause Sha­bangu was brief­ing the Cab­i­net as well as the in­ter-min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee charged with the mat­ter. “May I re­quest we wait for the de­ci­sions of the IMF and Cab­i­net?”

On con­cerns of where the money would come from if an­other ser­vice provider would have to be brought in to re­place CPS, Sassa said CPS was be­ing paid R2.2bn a month for ex­e­cut­ing this ser­vice. This money would be used to rec­om­pense a new ser­vice provider.

Dunker­ley also had to re­as­sure mem­bers who were con­cerned about the safety and the wis­dom of mov­ing suit­cases around, that al­though named suit­cases, they were bio­met­ric read­ers used to con­firm peo­ple’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. On MPs con­cern about com­mer­cial banks, she said: “We are very aware of the in­roads banks are mak­ing among ben­e­fi­cia­ries.” Presently a to­tal of 2.3 mil­lion grant re­cip­i­ents were us­ing banks, “which still leaves 8.3 mil­lion in the gov­ern­ment en­vi­ron­ment”, she said.

Legally, port­fo­lio com­mit­tee chair­per­son Rose­mary Capa said, Sassa had to pay so­cial grants.


JUST IN CASE: Min­is­ter Su­san Sha­bangu briefs the Cab­i­net about con­tin­gency plans to pay so­cial grants.

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