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Grindrod Bank says forced to charge Sassa beneficiaries to cover costs

Last year, the Constitutional Court ordered Sassa to end the irregular contract with Cash Paymaster Services before April.

New Sassa cards. Picture: OfficialSASSA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Grindrod Bank says it's been forced to charge the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) beneficiaries a service fee to cover the costs of running part of the grant payment system which was previously operated by Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

Last year, the Constitutional Court ordered Sassa to end the irregular contract with CPS before April.

The bank says under its subcontractor agreement with CPS it would earn 50 cents per account and the remaining R9.50 would go its partner Net.1 for technology support.

Grindrod Bank managing director David Polkinghorne has set the record straight regarding claims that the bank increased its bank charges from 1 April.

“We never had a contract with Sassa. It was always a CPS/Sassa contract and so we were sub-contracted to CPS and our arrangement with CPS was to earn 50 cents for providing the banking platform.”

Polkinghorne says the bank couldn't reach an agreement with Sassa to subsidise the costs while the transition to a new payment facilitation system is underway.

“They couldn’t just enter into a contract with us being a private sector.”

Sassa maintains that Grindrod Bank increased its charges despite both parties agreeing to a fee structure of R6.91.

The agency says it hopes the Constitutional Court will deal with the impasse once and for all.

SASSA REPORTED CPS TO POLICE, CONCOURT?

CPS CEO Herman Kotze said he's unaware that Sassa has reported the company to the police and the Constitutional Court over alleged attempts by company employees to frustrate the migration of grant beneficiaries to the new payment system.

Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu and Cabinet colleague and Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane made the claims on Thursday during an update on the progress in implementing the Constitutional Court's rulings on grant payments.

Kotze said CPS will be abiding by the Constitutional Court's order to end its services to Sassa at the end of September.

“We intend to terminate our services on 30 September so there is no reason why we would be boosting staff numbers at this point in time, just to tell people that they shouldn’t be taking the Post Office accounts.”

He said the company will take action if it is presented with hard evidence of employees' wrongdoing.

“If any of our employees are acting outside the mandate that they have and their job descriptions, we will certainly take immediate action against them… if we get presented with some firm evidence.”

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