CPS’s Belamant says ‘they must be smoking something’
The company says no one else has capacity to make grants payments and they will continue to do so to ensure SA does not burn in April.
CPS CEO Serge Belamant.
Serge Belamant, CEO of Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), in an interview with news channel eNCA, has defended his company against allegations of corruption in the saga of SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) payments.
He says all his company has asked for to continue to pay grants is “an inflation-linked increase”.
Analysts have speculated over why Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini appears to have taken no action over a three-year period to ensure that the tender to pay out social grants to about 17 million beneficiaries is not awarded to a new provider in a legally acceptable manner. The Constitutional Court found in 2014 that CPS was awarded the tender illegally, but suspended its ruling so that grants could continue to be paid, setting April 1 2017 as the deadline to have the matter rectified.
That has not happened, and Dlamini announced this week that CPS will continue to make payments for the next two years if Treasury and the Constitutional Court allow for a deviation from legislation governing tenders.
Belamant has said that he was actually willing to work with Sassa to help the agency to wean itself off CPS’s systems, but in the absence of that happening, he has accepted that his company continues to have a responsibility to contribute to ensuring grants are paid to ensure that South Africa does not descend into civil war.
He told eNCA his company has been caught between players in both business and politics using CPS to further their various vendettas.
Belamant was adamant that only CPS has the capacity to keep paying grants. He was dismissive of the other five companies apparently in line to take over.
“Let the other five people claim ‘we can do all of this by the 1st of April’. They must be smoking something. Or they simply don’t understand what is going on and what work is involved.”
He said he had thought about just letting the contract go entirely, but then he might wake up “the next morning, and the country will be burning … because the people won’t get paid”.
Belamant has also pointed out that CPS has never been found guilty of any wrongdoing regarding allegations of illegal deductions from the accounts of recipients.
He also promised that his company would do everything it could to ensure Sassa can take over the payments in two years’ time.