As concerns mount over the payment of social grants to 17 million poor and vulnerable citizens come April 1, the Constitutional Court on Wednesday directed the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to answer a series of questions relating to the payment of grants.
The Concourt has asked who the person was that was responsible for determining, on behalf of Sassa, whether the agency would not be able to pay grants by the end of March, among its questions.
Responses to the questions must be answered by Monday and be accompanied by affidavits.
The court ruled in 2014 that the current contract between Sassa and service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) was invalid and unconstitutional. But to ensure that there wasn’t any disruption to the payment of grants and pensions, the court suspended its order and asked the grants agency to tender for a new service provider.
In November 2015, the Concourt relinquished its supervisory role over the payment of grants after Sassa said it intended to take over the payment of grants through an internal payment system on April 1, 2017, but the agency has failed to come up with a plan to pay grants.
On Tuesday, Dlamini faced a grilling from parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).
During her appearance, Dlamini denied reports that her department had reached a new deal with CPS, saying certain aspects of the four terms of the contract still needed to be ironed out before the deal could be finalised.
The minister faces an uphill battle in convincing the Concourt to approve the deal if it is agreed to.
— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) March 8, 2017