7 things you need to know about the social grants debacle

Over the weekend, Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini briefed the media in Tshwane on the progress her department has made. The department’s handling of the social grant payments has been a topic of contention since the looming expiry date (31 March) for their contract with Cash Payment Services (CPS).

Dlamini denied media reports that there was a crisis with the payment of grants.

Here are seven things you need to know about the situation:

1. SASSA and CPS deal was ruled constitutionally invalid

In 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that the tender contract between SASSA and CPS was constitutionally invalid. The minister said five companies bid for the tender, two withdrew and the three remaining lacked capacity.


2. Ministerial advisory committee recommended SASSA build its own payment system

As per the court order in 2014, SASSA advertised the tender for the payment of social grants for five years (ending 2019) but it was never awarded. SC Advocate Wim Trengove advised the department to ask the court to allow for a deviation from normal tender processes to allow CPS to continue until April 2017.

3. SASSA to work with SA Post Office in future

One of the six options SASSA has is to work with SA Post Office to take over the grants payment system. The minister mentioned working with 2 600 post office outlets.

4. New payment system is in four phases

The department has confirmed that they have a four-phase plan to implement the social grant payment system and phase two has already begun.

5. No one will go unpaid

The minister said that  no one will go unpaid.

6. The system is flawed

She admitted that their system is flawed and that it has been the victim of abuse and theft.

7. No deal has been signed

On Friday, 3 March the minister said that a deal with CPS had been signed after three days of negotiations. During the Sunday press briefing, she contradicted herself and said no deal has been signed with CPS.

The director-general of the department, Zane Dangor, reportedly resigned.

Watch the minister’s disastrous interaction with the media:

For updates on the saga, follow #socialgrants on Twitter.


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