Bathabile agrees with MPs on R1.1bn CPS profit probe
SOCIAL Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has thrown her weight behind calls in Parliament to summon Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to explain pension grant payment-related issues.
This included its reported R1.1 billion profit.
“The court, in its judgment, said CPS is the extension of government and therefore the portfolio committee must call them and question them on a number of issues,” Dlamini said.
She made the statement when she and staff from her department and the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) briefed the social development committee on the implementation of the Constitutional Court ruling and Sassa’s engagement with the SA Post Office (Sapo) on the payment of social grants.
Dlamini said the committee could also quiz the CPS on the contentious database of grant beneficiaries, which was used to illegally make deductions from the bank accounts of beneficiaries.
“On the issue of the database, they would not have it if they did not have biometrics information of grant recipients. The database they have comes from biometric information,” she pointed out.
The ANC’s Sibongile Tsoleli said the Constitutional Court had ruled that CPS should not make a profit from invalid contracts.
“What is really happening on the issue of profit?” she asked, before requesting that CPS make a presentation to the committee.
While committee chairperson Zoleka Capa asked the legal services to advise on the matter, Dlamini said the committee could call on CPS to make a presentation.
The IFP’s Liezl van der Merwe said Parliament was capacitated with its rules to call on anybody to appear before its committees.
She said CPS should be quizzed about the reported profit. And she added that illegal deductions for electricity and airtime warranted a full investigation.
But responding to the reported profit, Sassa chief executive Thokozani Magwaza said it was not a matter they were looking at, because they were not involved in it.
He told the committee that the Constitutional Court had ordered that when the extended CPS contract ended in March 2018, an independent organisation should scrutinise the finances of the service provider.
“At that time all these things will be looked into… But as it is right now, we don’t worry ourselves with anything happening…The court gave us the leeway to do what we are supposed to do,” Magwaza said.
Dlamini confirmed the appointment of the independent company once the contract had ended.
“That is going to show us whether Grindrod has been giving the total amount of interest that came out… Those things we will be aware of when this contract comes to an end and proper process is followed,” she added.
Magwaza insisted that they were concentrating on in-sourcing and phasing out CPS.
“(But) we are not yet there,” Magwaza said.
However, Tsoleli was not impressed with his response, saying that Sassa was a brand that was tarnished.
Dlamini echoed Tsoleli’s sentiments on the need to rebuild their brand.
She conceded on rebuilding of the Sassa brand