ANC says Treasury won’t break law on Sassa deal – report
The party says social grants will be paid, but the manner in which it will be done may not be legal.
Zizi Kodwa, ANC national spokesperson. File Picture: City Press/Dudu Zitha/Gallo Images
The African National Congress (ANC) says National Treasury will not act illegally and approve a new social grants contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) unless it has been given the green light by the Constitutional Court.
“Treasury will not do that … It’s even exaggerated to think that people won’t be paid by the 1 April. They will be paid, but the manner in which it will be done may not be legal,” ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told Bloomberg News on Wednesday.
This follows an order by the ConCourt asking to be furnished with details from the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini about who at the grants agency decided it was incapable of paying grants to 17 million citizens from April 1, including when the decision was taken and why the court had not been told.
The highest court in the land ruled in 2014 that the current contract between Sassa and CPS was unconstitutional and invalid. But to ensure that there wasn’t any disruption to the payment of grants and pensions, the court suspended its order and asked Sassa 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 payments of grants when the CPS contract expires on March 31.
The agency has since failed to come up with a plan to pay social grants to much criticism from political parties and civil society who have charged that Sassa and Dlamini have put the welfare of 17 million poor and vulnerable citizens at risk.
Sassa is currently negotiating a new deal with CPS to distribute grants, which the ConCourt also wants details of.
The department social development has welcomed the ConCourt’s request and said it would comply with it.
“We have always contended that the Constitutional Court is best placed to deal with the matter at hand because social assistance in South Africa is a human right enshrined in the constitution,” the department said.