[UPDATE] Sassa files affidavits - 11 minutes late
The ConCourt had issued a new directive to Sassa & Bathabile Dlamini to file affidavits by 3pm to explain why they missed yesterday's deadline.
CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - The South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) and Social Development Department have filed affidavits in the Constitutional Court - this time missing the deadline by 11 minutes.
After delivering the papers the two lawyers doing so declined to speak to the media gathered outside the court building.
Earlier today, the court issued a new directive to Sassa and Minister Bathabile Dlamini to file affidavits by 3pm on to explain why they had missed Monday's 4pm deadline. Today the minister's lawyer Tim Sukazi confirmed that the documents were electronically submitted with answers on Monday night, well after the deadline.
The minister and Sassa will present their case in court on Wednesday, arguing that an interim contract with CPS will ensure payouts are possible by 1 April.
#SASSA Affidavits have been filed, although the Minister and Sassa missed the deadline again, this time by 11min. GN— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) March 14, 2017
#SASSA Affidavits will be made available to media soon. Minister and Sassa to explain why they missed yesterday's deadline. GN— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) March 14, 2017
The court wants clarity on the contract between Sassa and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) after it declared that deal invalid in 2014.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has asked the previous acting CEO of Sassa Thamo Mzobe, current acting CEO Wiseman Magasela and the minister to file affidavits on why directions issued to them last week were not complied with.
Sukazi, in explaining why they had missed the deadline, said they would apply for a condonation.
“Sometimes when situations are out of control they are delayed.”
READ: Minister Dlamini's affidavit to Constitutional Court
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has moved to assure grant beneficiaries that they won't be left with empty wallets.
Gordhan, appearing before Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts, said grants will be paid next month but the challenge for government is how to make this happen.
"I’m fairly confident that grants will be paid, but my question is what route will we take before now and then?"
He told Scopa that while Treasury was considering to allow Scopa to enter into a new contract with CPS, he didn’t want to preempt the Constitutional Court hearing set for Wednesday.
He added by law, deviations from tender processes can only be permitted in exceptional or emergency circumstances. At stake is R156 billion which has been budgeted for social security payment grants in the 2017/2018 financial year.
WAKE UP CALL
Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said it appeared that politics influencing administrative matters was creating problems like the current crisis.
Godi said concerns raised by political parties over the invalid contract should serve as a wake-up call.
“They imply our administrative problems are political. The political noise is getting into our administrative matters and creating all our problems.”