Sassa budgets R2m for experts’ salaries
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.