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Sassa not off the hook yet over grant payments saga

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts says it condemns Sassa’s incompetence and obfuscation in the matter.

FILE: Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini appeared before Parliament's Standing Commitee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to discuss the contract to pay social grants. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) may have finally reached an agreement for the payment of grants next year but it’s not off the hook from Parliament.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) says it condemns Sassa’s incompetence and obfuscation in the matter.

The agency was compelled by the Constitutional Court to file a plan for the payment of grants by last Friday, more than three months after it originally said it would have a plan in place.

Sassa will be skirting very close to the 1 April deadline to transfer the payment system to the Post Office.
Major components of the plan won’t be effected before the end of March.

The Democratic Alliance says the work plan must be tabled in Parliament, so the feasibility of timelines and cost estimates can be interrogated.

In papers filed with the Constitutional Court, Sassa says it will pay the Post Office R2.2 billion over the next year, to disburse grants.

Scopa chairman Themba Godi says the committee expects to interrogate the inter-ministerial committee on the substance of the agreement in January.

“There are still some issues that must be sorted out and, of course, their annual report does not cover them in glory.”

The court has directed that Treasury investigate the conduct of Sassa officials, to determine whether anyone should be liable for the hold up in reaching a new grant payments system.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)