Opposition parties raise concern over Sassa’s readiness for grant payments

Sassa’s controversial contract with Cash Paymaster Services will officially end on 30 September.

FILE: South African Social Security Agency in Pretoria. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties say they don’t have much faith that next week’s takeover of social grant payments by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the Post Office will be flawless.

From 1 October, they will be responsible for the payment of social grants in all forms, including cash in far outlying rural areas, which is a major concern.

On Thursday, the Constitutional Court delivered a scathing judgment against former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini for her handling of the institutionalisation of payments and ordered that she pay a portion of legal costs in her personal capacity.

Sassa’s controversial contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) will officially end on 30 September.

The panel of experts appointed by the Constitutional Court has repeatedly raised concerns that Sassa will not be ready for October’s takeover, and that it has no contingency plan in place.

Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango, says even Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu has been found wanting.

“The issues that have arisen since the minister has taken over are not making us comfortable that Sassa or the department for that matter is in good hands now.”

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Liezl van der Merwe says: “One is really worried by the Auditor-General’s recent report. So, I’m hoping that everything will be smooth, that there will be no further glitches. But one cannot say for sure there will be no further problems come 1 October.”

The Auditor-General has also pointed out that it might cost Sassa more to outsource the job to the Post Office than it has been paying CPS up until now, something opposition parties say they will be asking questions about when Sassa is next called to report back to Parliament.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)