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ConCourt set to hand down judgment in Sassa payment debacle

The current invalid contract with service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) expires at the end of March.

FILE: The Constitutional Court in Johannesburg. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The Constitutional Court will hand down judgment in the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) payment debacle on Friday.

On Wednesday, it heard arguments about how Sassa plans to ensure 17 million social grant beneficiaries are paid, come the first of next month.

The current, invalid contract with service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) expires at the end of March.

After taking less than 40 hours to deliberate on the matter, Constitutional Court judges will hand down judgment on Friday morning in the highly anticipated case involving Sassa which has gained national interest.

The judges were unimpressed with the excuses that Sassa and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini presented this week, about why the payment crisis wasn’t resolved several months or even years ago.

Sassa knew in April 2016 that it wouldn’t be able to take over the payment system from CPS and now there are just two weeks to go before social grants are due to be paid.

Sassa and the minister have proposed either an extension of the current CPS contract or a new contract with the company for up to 18 months.

CPS maintains that it is the only company at this stage that is able to distribute the grants.

It’s understood that it has negotiated a preliminary contract with Sassa asking for R194 million per month for the next two years.

Meanwhile, as the Constitutional Court prepares to deliver judgment on the Sassa crisis, the board of Net1 has released a statement giving the assurance that its unit CPS has not reduced its operational capacity to deliver grants.

Net1 has also reiterated its commitment to helping Sassa during the interim payment period.

Justices were unimpressed by the explanations presented by Sassa and Dlamini about why the payment crisis wasn’t resolved months or even years ago.

Judgment will be handed down on Friday at 10am.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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