So­cial Se­cu­rity Agency on track to de­liver grants through new ser­vice provider in 2018

The Sunday Independent - - DISPATCHES -

SASSA is on track to meet time­lines in phas­ing out the cur­rent ser­vice provider.

The SA So­cial Se­cu­rity Agency is on track to im­ple­ment the de­ci­sions of the Con­sti­tu­tional Court, as or­dered, and en­sure that mil­lions of South Africans who rely on so­cial grants con­tinue to re­ceive them. A lot has been done since the rul­ing of the apex court and the ap­point­ment of an act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

Act­ing Sassa CEO Pearl Bengu re­cently made her de­but ap­pear­ance be­fore the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Ac­counts (Scopa) to brief them on progress made to pre­pare for the pay­ment of so­cial grants af­ter March 31, 2018. She said work was un­der way within the agency to en­sure that a new ser­vice provider was ap­pointed to take over when the cur­rent pay­ment con­trac­tor con­cludes oper­a­tions next year.

In­deed, Sassa is of the view that the post of­fice as a govern­ment en­tity can have a note­wor­thy role to play in the dis­tri­bu­tion of grants.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans plau­si­bly raised sev­eral con­cerns re­gard­ing the pro­cesses and said the peo­ple of South Africa should not be sub­jected to panic and anx­i­ety. Sassa clearly un­der­stands its man­date and its ex­ec­u­tives, led by the CEO, are work­ing ex­tra time to en­sure that the agency meets the time­lines as out­lined in Par­lia­ment.

The de­ci­sion of the ex­ec­u­tive is that Sassa will fol­low a hy­brid model dur­ing the first phase of the tran­si­tion, as it read­ies it­self to take over pay­ments in fu­ture.

It is ir­refutable that the pay-points pay­ment mode con­tin­ues to pro­vide eco­nomic spin-offs to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, where grants are paid ev­ery month with­out fail. Many fam­i­lies are run­ning sus­tain­able busi­nesses due to the grants pay­ments ac­tiv­i­ties tak­ing place in their neigh­bour­hoods.

As part of the jour­ney that Sassa has nav­i­gated over the years since its for­ma­tion to im­prove ser­vice de­liv­ery, many peo­ple to­day re­ceive their grants con­ve­niently through mer­chants, banks and pay points, as well as other in­sti­tu­tions.

These achieve­ments should not be down­played and should serve as proof that ev­ery­thing the agency did over the past years was meant to im­prove ser­vices and in­crease op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency. The mooted ap­proach will con­tinue to en­sure that Sassa is on a tra­jec­tory to cre­ate the right con­di­tions and re­store the dig­nity of grants re­cip­i­ents.

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