Govt accuses CPS of sabotaging social grants migration process

The court has given South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) until the end of September to end its contract with CPS.

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - The government has accused Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) of trying to sabotage efforts to migrate millions of social grant beneficiaries to the new payment system.

Members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) in charge of overseeing the implementation of the Constitutional Court’s orders relating to social grant payments have been briefing journalists in Pretoria.

The court has given the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) until the end of September to end its contract with CPS.

But the IMC says CPS staff are trying to frustrate efforts by Sassa and South African Post Office to get beneficiaries on to the new system.

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says the migration to the new payment system is progressing well. But there’s also been pushback from CPS, the company whose contract was ruled to be unlawful by the Constitutional Court.

“We have also observed the high levels of frustration and desperation from CPS, hence they have resorted to all manner of attempts to frustrate and sabotage the migration processes.”

Mokonyane’s issued a stern warning to CPS employees not to interfere with government efforts to migrate grant beneficiaries from their old cards to the new one.

“We have taken legal action against some people who have interfered with the people in the process of swapping their cards and those who are involved in interrupting Sassa employees in the execution of their duties.”

Speaking on behalf of the IMC, Mokonyane says Sapo has to date migrated 1,834,755 beneficiaries to the new gold Sassa card. She says Sassa and Sapo intend migrating all those who receive their social grants in cash at CPS pay points by the end of August.

Mokonyane says Sassa and Sapo have assured the IMC that the system glitches which saw some beneficiaries experience problems receiving electronic payments this month have been addressed.

“According to them the system was unable to deal with the huge volumes of transactions they received as a result of the increased uptake of card swaps.”

Mokonyane says the line speed between Sapo and payment clearing house, Bankserv, has been “increased drastically” and post offices can make manual payments whenever system faults arise.

“We have asked the technical teams to go to branches and retail outlets over the next week to test the resilience of the system to avoid a repeat of this bad experience.”

The IMC will continue to monitor grant payments and apologised for any delays.

“The IMC wishes to reassure beneficiaries that their social grants will be paid in full.”

Mokonyane also says the Sapo strike does not affect grant payments or the migration of benificiaries. Beneficiaries can use their cards to withdraw from all ATMs and can withdraw free of charge from supermarkets three times a month.
(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)