South Africa 7.3.2017 02:52 pm

Letters show Sassa was warned of impending grant crisis – report

PHOTO: Sassa website

PHOTO: Sassa website

A series of letters reportedly reveal that Sassa and the department of social development only acted at the 11th hour over the payment of grants.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) was reportedly warned by its current service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) about the looming social grants crisis almost a year ago, TimesLive reports.

According to the news website, in correspondence attached to an affidavit submitted to the Constitutional Court by Net1 boss Serge Belamant, the owner of CPS, the company warned Sassa through numerous letters that there needed to be a smooth transition to prepare for the expiry of its contract on April 1‚ 2017.

Despite repeated warnings, Sassa failed to act to ensure that 17 million social grant recipients across the country were not left stranded when CPS’s contract eventually ends in about three weeks. But Sassa chose to drag its feet and only agreed to meet with the service provider on March 1‚ 2017.

One of the letters dated May 24‚ 2016 was sent to the executive manager of special projects at Sassa. Belamant stressed that “as time is running out quite rapidly‚ it is critical for Sassa to decide on the way forward”.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini faced a grilling from Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday morning.

During her appearance, Dlamini denied reports that her department had reached a deal new deal with CPS, saying certain aspects of the four terms of the contract still needed to be ironed out before the deal can be finalised. However, the minister still faces an uphill battle in convincing the Constitutional Court to approve the deal if it’s agreed to.

The Concourt declared Sassa’s contract with CPS invalid and unconstitutional in 2014.

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