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Minister Dlamini to brief Parly over Sassa payments plan

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is expected to brief Parliament on whether her department is ready to take over the payment of pensions and social grants from 1 April.

FILE: Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is expected to brief Parliament on Wednesday on whether her department is ready to take over the payment of pensions and social grants to millions of South Africans from 1 April.

Dlamini angered opposition parties last week when she caused a meeting to discuss progress on the matter to be cancelled.

The official reason given was that she was attending the African National Congress’ (ANC) NEC lekgotla.

But it later emerged that she was on ANC Women's League business in Ethiopia.

There are now just two months to go before the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) is supposed to start paying out grants to more than 17 million beneficiaries.

This follows a 2014 Constitutional Court ruling that found irregularities in the award of a tender to Cash Paymaster Services.

Dlamini is racing against the clock to come up with a new system.

A request for information about possible partners was published in December, but the closing date for the tender is only in nine days time, leaving little time to put the necessary systems in place.

Opposition parties are warning of a looming crisis and it’s been speculated the existing contract will be extended.

Sassa has assured payments will not be affected by the changeover, but skeptical Members of Parliament will be looking to challenge this on Wednesday.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)