News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
31 Oct 2017
11:09 am

SAPO: We’re a fully fledged bank and able to deliver on Sassa contract

Gosebo Mathope

Bathabile Dlamini has said they are not convinced SAPO has the required capabilities to dispense grants.

Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini. (Photo: GCIS)

Mark Barnes, the chief executive officer of the state-owned South African Post Office (SAPO), has told a joint meeting of the standing committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) and portfolio committee on social development that his entity ticks all the boxes required to guarantee the efficient delivery of social grants.

Barnes was speaking to MPs this morning following Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s earlier statement that, together with South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), they were not convinced SAPO had the required capabilities as a grant-dispensing service provider.

Barnes told parliamentarians he regarded SAPO as the “solutions aggregator” that can prevent the “duplication of investment” by government in provision of social services in the country.

African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) President Bathabile Dlamini during the national Women's Day celebrations at the Union Buildings on August 09, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. August 09, 2016 marks the 60th anniversary of the historic 1956 Women's March on the Union Buildings against the discriminatory pass laws. Picture: Gallo Images

African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) President Bathabile Dlamini . Picture: Gallo Images

“We will offer a seamless customer solution that is affordable … any money transferred to SAPO remains with the state. We have various economics of scale. We are already allowed to take deposits in terms of the banking act. For Sassa, it will just be accommodation of money, it’s a transactional one.

“We have 5.7 million customers, we are the highest capitalised bank, seventh largest in the country. We can issue cards and can prevent the deduction of debit orders,” Barnes continued, and added that through Standard Bank, the entity was able to clear large transactions and that all their counters at all their branches operated as “ATMs”.

READ MORE: Dlamini wipes a welfare grant deal with Post Office off the table

“We don’t need to register as a merchant. Bear in mind social grants are a one-way transaction. We have 2 500 points of payment. In deep rural areas, it is common knowledge that this function will be provided by cash-in-transit companies,” Barnes said.

Barnes then delved into specifics of the information they provided to Sassa in response to the Request for Proposals (RFP) that Dlamini yesterday said SAPO had failed to provide during a “five-minute” meeting.

“On average, we do 14 million transactions per month. Post Bank, which is insulated from the post office group business, has a net assets of R3 billion in cash. We have ATMs with cash-accepting devices, we have sufficient funds for branch transactions.

Themba Godi, chairperson of Scopa. Picture: Gallo Images

Themba Godi, chairperson of Scopa. Picture: Gallo Images

“We will have R1.5 billion in cash assets to expand our services. We will replace the cards for R425 million, which we will recover over time. Our net upgrade will cost R500 million, and we have the cash for it.

“We also must bear in the mind there are significant difference in the economics of transactions. We will allow free ATM withdrawals and interests accruing to the beneficiaries, which has never happened,” Barnes concluded.

Defending herself, a highly irritated Dlamini took off her glasses and shook her head in protest before being allowed to speak.

She then claimed SAPO excluded everything present to the meeting. ANC MP Mnyamezeli Booi cut the minister off and warned that “our interest today is in find a solution”, as the committee had heard the same allegations from the acting Sassa CEO.

IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa told chairperson Themba Godi his party would be writing a letter to speaker Baleka Mbete to request that a parliamentary inquiry be held into the Sassa/CPS matter.


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