Black Sash: Several gaps remain with social grant payments deal

On Sunday, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announced Sassa and the Post Office had reached an agreement.

FILE: Sassa cards. Picture: SAPS

JOHANNESBURG - The Black Sash says that while it recognises much work has gone into the framework of a new social grants payment deal between Sassa and the Post Office, several gaps still exist.

The group says it’s worried that the cash transfers could be outsourced through a competitive tender and that the extension of the Cash Paymaster Services contract is possible.

The Black Sash took Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to court this year, saying that Dlamini failed in her oversight duty at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).

The organisation’s national director Lynette Maart says there are many gaps in the agreement between Sassa and the Post Office, namely the cost of the Sassa bank accounts and dispute resolution systems.

“All of these things are still left wide open. I’m afraid we’ve gotten into this situation before.”

Maart says that no formal agreement has been signed with the banks.

On Sunday, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announced Sassa and the Post Office had reached an agreement.

He made the announcement at a briefing in Pretoria.

Radebe said the grants would be issued through a channel of the beneficiary’s choice, including commercial banks, Postbank and other legally registered informal traders, like spaza shops.

Sassa was due to meet a deadline on Friday to provide the Constitutional Court with a takeover plan, as its contract with Cash Paymaster Services drew to an end.

Meanwhile, grant beneficiaries have been assured that their funds will be paid out as directed by the Constitutional Court and Sassa cards will not expire at the end of this month.

Radebe says the committee is aware of the challenges that face grant recipients who live in every corner of the country.

He says government is committed to making the paying of grants as easy as possible.

He says the agreement will also serve as a platform for the integration of local enterprises into the social grants distribution chain.

“Sassa will go out on a competitive bidding process to procure the service for cash distribution at pay points.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)