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Panel raises concerns over Sassa-Post Office deal

The panel advises the court that Sassa be asked to provide it with arguments on whether its agreements with the Post Office meet constitutional and statutory requirements.

FILE: Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Concerns were raised on Friday afternoon about whether sourcing all social grant payment services from the Post Office is the best idea.

The Post Office took full responsibility for the payment of social grants in October, ending a highly controversial contract with the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

But a court-appointed panel of experts, led by Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu, says the substantial increases in transaction fees already show that the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) might once again find itself held hostage by the Post Office.

In its 10th and final report filed with the Constitutional Court, the expert panel says under its watch, procuring the Post Office as the sole provider for the payment of social grants has been Sassa’s primary failing.

Besides going against the government’s supply chain policy and sound procurement practices, the panel believes the decision is also likely to have adverse consequences for the fiscus and taxpayers.

The panel says Sassa has failed to consider the wide range of technological options available for the payment of grants, such as mobile payments and eWallets.

It says these options are not only likely to be cheaper than the Post Office, but also more secure and functional.

The panel says the Post Office’s ability to operate as a going concern is also worrying, and whether it can make the necessary investments to fulfil the agreement with Sassa.

The panel advises the court that Sassa be asked to provide it with arguments on whether its agreements with the Post Office meet constitutional and statutory requirements.

LISTEN: Post Office officially takes over grant payments

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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