Sassa examining its in-house options
AS THE SA Social Security Agency’s contract with its payment service provider nears expiry, Sassa has assured beneficiaries that they will be paid on time.
Three years ago, the Constitutional Court declared the contract for the payment of social grants between Sassa and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) invalid after Sassa failed to ensure that the empowerment credentials claimed by CPS were objectively confirmed.
The declaration was suspended, however, pending the decision on whether to award a new tender.
CPS distributes social welfare grants to more than 9 million beneficiaries countrywide, and the contract expires at the end of March.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has since established a task team to consider taking over the payment of social grants in-house.
Sassa Western Cape spokesperson Shivani Wahab said social grant beneficiaries would be paid as usual, and on time, and there would be no disruptions.
“Consultations were held with stakeholders to determine what the best model would be, and a solution had to be found to minimise potential unintended consequences.
“That process took unexpectedly longer, given the competing business and other interests of interested parties,” Wahab said in a statement.
Sassa is this week expected to present to the National Assembly’s social development portfolio committee its plan on how social grants will be paid as from April.
Social justice group the Black Sash said an in-house service would be the best option to distribute social welfare grants.
The group has for years been running a “Hands Off Our Grants Campaign” to force Sassa to prevent unauthorised deductions, which hundreds of people have complained about.
Group national advocacy manager Elroy Paulus said the details of the plan to be presented to the committee were crucial.
“We are keen to see the plan and strategy of Sassa and the government to stop the immoral, unlawful and sometimes fraudulent deductions by April 1.
“We remain convinced that insourcing remains the best strategy to deal with these deductions once and for all,” he added.
“We are also keen to see Sassa and the government’s plan to stop and address the indebtedness of grant beneficiaries caused by loans and fraudulent and unlawful deductions from the beneficiaries,” Paulus said.
‘NO DISRUPTIONS’: Siqhingeni resident Patricia Vukaphi, 64, registered a social grant for her sevenyear-old granddaughter with Sassa’s mobile truck. Sassa pledged that there would be no disruptions in the payment of welfare grants to beneficiaries.