The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) needs to be restructured to eliminate the outsourcing of the grants payment system, according to ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday night.
He was speaking at a Gordon Institute of Business Science discussion on the party’s policy documents and their impact on the economy. Referring to the soon-to-be expired contract between Sassa and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), which was declared illegal by the Constitutional Court in 2013, Mkhize said the technology needed to distribute social grants should now be acquired by government, leaving other social grant related services open for public bidding.
“The very difficult situation which we see the whole operation of payments of grants is happening It actually means that in a very difficult to deal with what was raised by the Constitutional Court as the illegal contract and so what we believe is important is that the core particularly the technology involved in the distribution of the social grants needs to be the state needs to approach the company and take over that whatever the compensation associated with that so that it becomes something that is state is able to deal with,” he told journalists after the event.
He added Sassa needed to be assisted to develop the ‘necessary technology’ or buy it, attain necessary personnel so that the government, through Sassa, takes responsibility paying social grants.
With the Constitutional Court expected to make a decision this month on the way social grants should be handled in the future, Mkhize noted that the crisis threatened the country’s most vulnerable citizens who depended on the social ‘safety net’.
While President Jacob Zuma and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini have both denied there was a crisis in the distribution of social grants, with nary a confirmed plan in place to find a new distribution plan by April 1, Dlamini was slammed by the highest court in the land this week, for allowing the situation turn into a crisis. Mkhize said competitiveness in the process of finding a new contractor could also prove difficult.
“The nature of sophistication of what we have we might find it difficult to find lots of competitors there might always be those questions there does need to be a degree of restructuring.”