No programme in place to deliver Sassa grants on 1 April

Sassa has told Parliament there's no programme to go live on 1 April with a new system to pay out 17 million grants.

Picture: @OfficialSASSA.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says there's no programme to go live on 1 April with a new system to pay out 17 million grants.

Last week the agency again promised that all beneficiaries would receive their social grants in April, but would not say what kind of negotiations it would now have with the company that makes the payments Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

It remains to be seen how Sassa intends paying millions of social grant beneficiaries from 1 April.

Sassa officials appeared before Members of Parliament (MPs) to discuss the matter on Tuesday.

The agency's contract with its current service provider was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court.

Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza is apparently sick and couldn't attend the meeting.

Social Development Director-General Zane Dangor says they will be negotiating with the existing provider for an interim new contract.

“Option one was changed from extension to new, which means the legal advice that you got was that you don’t need to go to the Constitutional Court. What we have asked for is that we do a dual process, that we submit a document before we negotiate, to state out intentions.”

But committee member Tim Brauteseth says this poses its own obstacles.

He says Treasury, which needs to approve the process, has already indicated the extension of the contract is not justifiable.

“So, you are literally between a rock and a hard place, because Treasury will have to approve your process – it doesn’t look like it wants to do it. That’s the issue you’ve got at the moment. What is the plan? That’s what the South African people want to know.”