It appears the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) will have no option but to deliver a political judgment as opposed to a legal one in relation to the much-talked-about social grants issue, according to political analyst professor Andre Duvenhage.
Speaking to The Citizen on Wednesday, Duvenhage said the delays in getting into a new contract with a service provider by government, particularly the social development department, was a deliberate strategy created by the presidency and executed through the incompetence of Minister Bathabile Dlamini.
“The highest court in the land has now been left with only two options, which is to either deliver a legal or political judgment and, as things are going at the moment, it appears we’re headed for a political judgment.
“A legal judgment could be bad news as it could have a negative effect on the 17 million beneficiaries who risk not receiving their grants, while a political judgment could result in a temporary arrangement between government and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), allowing for the process to have a new long-term contract finalised,” Duvenhage said.
The same court found the contract with CPS to have been invalid back in 2014, but until today, no contractual agreement has been reached with any other company.
In recent weeks, the department has been in talks with CPS, something which raised concerns by some who said the negotiations were undermining the ConCourt’s 2014 ruling.
Duvenhage stressed that due to immense pressure, the ConCourt’s ruling in the current matter is highly likely to be in the best interest of the masses.
He said the unresolved social grants issue was a clear indication of how broken the country’s political environment is.
“There is a clear lack of leadership in this grants issue, which has without doubt been politically engineered.
“Should the court go the legal route in this matter, leaving millions of beneficiaries without grants come April 1, we are likely to see President Jacob Zuma shifting the blame to Treasury,” Duvenhage said.
Addressing parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) this week, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said the only time they will accept a new agreement with CPS, would be through the ConCourt’s permission.
Meanwhile, contrary to the scene that played out at the Constitutional Court last year, where the Nkandla ruling was handed down, yesterday saw a much calmer atmosphere during the social grants matter.
Although they came in their famous yellow and green uniform, ANC Women’s League members chanted and danced peacefully while DA activists minded their own business.
The number of police officers that was deployed was smaller than the one there last year.
No EFF supporters were spotted at court.
DA supporters hoisted placards reading “Dlamini must go”.