Sassa bud­gets R2m for ex­perts’ salaries

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

THE SOUTH Africa So­cial Se­cu­rity Agency (Sassa) has bud­geted R2 mil­lion for the re­mu­ner­a­tion of the 10-mem­ber panel of ex­perts ap­pointed to mon­i­tor the phas­ing out of the Cash Pay­mas­ter Ser­vices con­tract.

The agency wants the ex­perts to tell them the “rea­son­able” amount they should be paid for over­see­ing the con­tract for the pay­ment of so­cial grants.

The ex­perts were ap­pointed last week on the or­der of the Con­sti­tu­tional Court, and Sassa is re­spon­si­ble for their re­mu­ner­a­tion.

Yes­ter­day, Sassa said dur­ing a brief­ing to the so­cial de­vel­op­ment port­fo­lio com­mit­tee they did not know how the ex­perts would be paid, and added they would would take their cue from the court.

But they have al­ready told the ex­perts to be “rea­son­able”, a move that prompted one par­lia­men­tar­ian to call for Sassa’s bud­get not to be “milked”.

Chief fi­nance of­fi­cer Tsak­eriwa Chauke told the com­mit­tee Sassa had bud­geted R2m for the ex­perts’ pos­si­ble stay un­til the end of March 2018.

“We made an as­sump­tion that it will run un­til the end of the fi­nan­cial year. If it goes be­yond that, it will be a prob­lem,” Chauke said.

He said they had raised the need for the re­mu­ner­a­tion to be rea­son­able dur­ing their en­gage­ment with the ex­perts last week.

“They in­di­cated they would work on that, and that they would com­mu­ni­cate through the of­fice of the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral,” said strat­egy and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment ex­ec­u­tive man­ager Raphaelle Ramok­gopa.

Ramok­gopa told the com­mit­tee that the takeover of the pay­ment would be done in phases.

Sassa chief ex­ec­u­tive Thokozani Magwaza said they would hear from the ex­perts what amount they should be paid.

“I did dis­cuss it when we dis­cussed with the panel of ex­perts and the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral. It needs to be rea­son­able, so what­ever they do, they must not come up with a bizarre kind of amount, be­cause it is an amount we did not have on our bud­get,” Magwaza said.

He added that Sassa did not know the term of of­fice for the ex­perts.

“The other chal­lenge is how long are they go­ing to be with us. We still have to get a cue from the Con­sti­tu­tional Court,” Magwaza said.

The ANC’s Pu­lani Mo­gotsi warned against Sassa be­ing “milked” through the re­mu­ner­a­tion of the ex­perts.

“We must not milk the Sassa bud­get. The court must as­sist in this. It is the court that di­rected it would give Sassa ex­perts,” Mo­gotsi said.

There was a need to in-source some of the so­cial grant pay­ment-re­lated ser­vices over five years as Sassa had to build its own ca­pac­ity.

“Those are in-house in­vest­ments we need to do. When we did the cost­ing, we re­alised it is not some­thing we can do within one year,” she said.

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