Batha­bile agrees with MPs on R1.1bn CPS profit probe

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - MAY­I­BONGWE MAQHINA

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

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