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Scopa: Dlamini is clearly failing

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts says the Social Development Minister missed an opportunity to tackle the Sassa issue at weekend briefing.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) says Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini missed an opportunity to properly discuss the Sassa during a briefing at the weekend.

Scopa says Dlamini is clearly failing and her uncertainty on the matter only confirms the already existing sense of unease and anxiety within the nation.

At the briefing yesterday in Pretoria, the minister said no agreement had been signed with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to continue paying grants on the first of next month, but that she was confident of the way forward with the help of the company.

In 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that the tender process with CPS was invalid and told the department told to find a new distributor.

However, it was agreed that CPS could continue until the end of this month.

Scopa says Dlamini is clearly unsure about how payments will be made and that it’s hogwash to blame the media for this uncertainty.

Chairperson Themba Godi says, “I mean she just came out to confirm herself that she’s not sure about how payments will be done. What more do you need to create this uneasiness on herself?”

Godi says the committee remembers National Treasury advising Sassa on what to do last year to avoid the debacle, but this advice was not heeded.

“And Sassa did not do it, so I imagine that National Treasury will be within its rights not to play ball.”

The department’s contract with CPS concludes at the end of this month, with no signed plan to pay about 17 million South Africans.

BOTH PARTIES MUST SIGN CONTRACT

Meanwhile, CPS says there’s no reason why a deal shouldn’t be signed with the department so that social grant payments can be made on 1 April.

Dlamini remains adamant that talks are set to begin shortly with CPS to negotiate a new contract.

On Sunday, acting CEO of Sassa Thamo Mzobe claimed there was no deal.

“And the signing of contract will entail the deliverables and the cost structure, therefore, there’s no deal in this regard that has been finalised. We’re still going to follow our internal processes that will lead to the conclusion of this process.”

CPS CEO Serge Belamant said, “I really don’t see any reason whatsoever why the deal should not now be signed by both parties and I can assure you that we’re ready to pay on 1 April.”

At the same time, CPS says it is certain nobody can take over the grant distribution process in time for the next payouts.

Social Development has also said that they are considering other channels such as the Post Office to distribute grants

However, Belamant said that is just not possible.

“The processes are not present at the 10,000 pay points where we actually operate, which is very important because that pays around 3.5 to 4 million people. So all the processes they can take over, the answer is very simple; they can’t.

“So I’m not too sure when people talk about they can do this, they can do that. There’s no one today except CPS that can provide this services.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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