News / South Africa

Yadhana Jadoo
2 minute read
10 Mar 2017
5:01 am

ConCourt likely to be asked to allow invalid CPS contract, says expert

Yadhana Jadoo

Pierre de Vos argued that despite the new contract with CPS being invalid, the court would be forced to 'suspend invalidity on certain conditions'.

Constitutional Court justices. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

It is probable that the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) will be asked to suspend the invalidity of the contract between Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), to allow millions of recipients to receive their grants on April 1.

According to law expert Pierre de Vos, the ConCourt would have to make valid an invalid contract between CPS and Sassa – a last-minute attempt to avoid a crisis next month.

The move would follow a request by non-governmental organisation, Black Sash, for the court to allow CPS to be used to pay out the grants.

In 2013, the ConCourt invalidated the contract with CPS, as it resulted from a flawed procurement process. But it suspended the ruling for the duration of the deal, so grant payments would not be disrupted.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday told parliament he had faith in the ConCourt’s ability to handle the issue, “so a solution is found”.

Sassa recently announced that a new contract was in place with CPS, with Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini being blamed for allowing the matter to reach this stage.

She was even grilled by MPs before Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts.

“The new contract is invalid, as it did not follow processes within the constitution and law,” De Vos said.

“The court must suspend invalidity on certain conditions.”

De Vos said the court would impose conditions on the contract, including cost and whether CPS would use its database to “sell things to recipients”.

“This will get Sassa and the department to fix the problem.”

De Vos said Sassa and the department were “incompetent”.

“The way this has been handled means Sassa and the department are incompetent, or are trying to protect CPS and their profits for reasons unknown.”

Meanwhile, the DA said it would demand that Dlamini make the new contract public.

“If she doesn’t, the DA will submit an application, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, to force her to,” Bridget Masango said.

Dlamini will not oppose ‘noble’ Black Sash application on grants crisis

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