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Post Office CEO says he's ready for fresh talks over grant payments

Mark Barnes says it only makes economic sense for the government to use its own infrastructure to take over from Cash Paymaster Services.

SA Post Office CEO Mark Barnes. Picture: @mark_barnes56/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Post Office CEO Mark Barnes says the slate has been wiped clean and he's ready for a new round of discussions on the social grants payment debacle.

Speaking on the sidelines of a parliamentary meeting on Wednesday, Barnes says it only makes economic sense for the government to use its own infrastructure to take over from Cash Paymaster Services.

Chairperson of the interministerial committee Minister Jeff Radebe told Parliament that a task team has been instructed to ensure a cooperation agreement is signed between the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the Post Office by the end of next week.

On Wednesday, Parliament heard that Sassa had acted with bias and unfairly disqualified the Post Office from aspects of the bid proposal.

But Post Office chief executive Mark Barnes says there’s no hard feelings, and he’s ready to move forward.

“We have a bank which is fully functional and capable of delivering all of these things, so I would find great difficulty in the logic that supports us not being involved as an integrated part of the solution.”

Treasury has advised that a meeting be held with the Banking Association and the Payment Association by Friday for an interim solution to be found that would involve using commercial banks to pay social grants.