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ConCourt ruling to guide resolution on grant payments debacle

CPS has apparently negotiated a deal that will secure R194 million per month to continue distributing grants.

FILE: The Constitutional Court of South Africa at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – Friday morning’s Constitutional Court judgment is expected to help guide the way to resolve the country’s social grant payment crisis with two weeks before the current contract expires.

The court will deliver its verdict in the case brought by NGO Black Sash asking it to take oversight of a new deal which will ensure the payment of social grants to millions of South Africans.

Judges this week described Sassa and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini as incompetent for failing to make adequate plans for a new distributor of the grants.

Sassa, Dlamini and service provider CPS are of the opinion that extending the current contract or negotiating a new one with the same company, is the only way to ensure social grants are paid next month.

CPS has apparently negotiated a deal that will secure R194 million per month to continue distributing grants.

Opposing parties in this case have accused CPS of bullying Sassa into believing it is the only company that can do the job.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has also criticised the role that the minister played.

“It is what she’s the minister for, within the context of an order in relation to this matter. For you not to follow up now is something that is difficult for any of us to understand.”

The court is expected to hand down a judgment that will pave the way forward for Sassa just after 10am this morning.

RADEBE AVOIDS QUESTIONS

Meanwhile, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says the inter-ministerial task team set up to look into the matter, will determine the fate of Dlamini once it has completed its work.

Dlamini is part of that task team but Radebe says her inclusion is important for access to information.

Radebe shied away from describing the Sassa matter as a crisis and whether he believes Dlamini should take responsibility.

“I’ve already answered the question of the issue of responsibility in this matter, that we’ll discuss that as the ministerial task team and also report to Cabinet.”

He says a technical team has been setup.

“The principal task there will be determined by the judgment of the Constitutional Court whenever it gives judgment.”

The Presidency says the insourcing of grants is an option but Cabinet is waiting on the Constitutional Court to deliver judgment.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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