SASSA withdraws application to Constitutional Court hours after filing it

Dlamini to meet provincial ministers over “chaos” at SASSA

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Photo of SASSA office
Hours after filing an application to the Constitutional Court to extend the social grants payment contract, SASSA has withdrawn it. Photo: Masixole Feni

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has withdrawn its application to the Constitutional Court to extend its social grants payment contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), just hours after filing it.

SASSA’s five-year contract with CPS, which began in February 2012, was declared invalid by the Court in 2014, but the Court suspended the invalidity so that grants could continue to be paid.

SASSA submitted a plan in 2014 to take over the payment of grants itself when the CPS contract ends on 31 March 2017. But in February 2017, SASSA acknowledged its failure to meet this deadline.

At the last minute, the agency suggested extending its contract with CPS as the “safest option” to ensure beneficiaries are paid on 1 April.

On Tuesday, SASSA filed papers to the Constitutional Court, asking it to authorise the extension of the contract for another year. This was in spite of SASSA project manager Zodwa Mvulane telling Parliament the same day that the agency would not apply to the Court for an extension but would rather file a report to the Court on 31 March. Meanwhile, she said, SASSA would start negotiations for a new contract with CPS parent company Net1 on Wednesday.

However on Wednesday, SASSA spokesperson Kgomoco Diseko told GroundUp that the agency had withdrawn the papers filed on Tuesday.

“Our papers were withdrawn yesterday and will be resubmitted once we make an addition that was omitted,” he said. He would not comment further.

It is unclear whether negotiations for a new contract between SASSA and NET1 went ahead on Wednesday.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is due to meet provincial MEC’s on Thursday, according to Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz. Fritz said in an email Dlamini would meet the MECs to discuss the current “chaotic” crisis at SASSA.

“To date, SASSA has kept provincial departments in the dark about this matter. This turn of events can only be described as chaos, and adds to the uncertainty felt by nearly 1.5 million social grant recipients in the Western Cape,” he said.

TOPICS:  Social Grants

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