File: Sassa and Sapo have agreed to a hybrid system to pay social grants to millions of beneficiaries.
JOHANNESBURG – The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has assured the Portfolio Committee on Social Development that all grants will be paid on 1 April, as per deadline.
This was revealed during a briefing to the committee on Wednesday on the implementation of last year’s Constitutional Court judgement.
Regional managers were also afforded an opportunity to brief the committee on their status of readiness to pay grants next month.
Sassa’s grant administration executive manager Dianne Dunkerley told the committee that the new service provider that will replace Cash Payment Services (CPS) will be afforded an opportunity to prepare for its first grant distribution, which is on 1 July 2018.
She said the closing date for the bid to appoint a new service provider was delayed to 12 March but no further delays would be accommodated.
Regional managers told the committee they have aligned their plans and adopted the draft contingency plans as provided to them to ensure that beneficiaries receive their payment in April.
The plan involves the identification of banking infrastructure that can be used by beneficiaries or requesting banks to provide mobile infrastructure in under or unserviced areas.
Despite being satisfied by the progress made, the committee raised concerns about the use of commercial banks to distribute payments.
It says this will results to them benefiting from cash payments to beneficiaries.
“Social grants is one of government’s poverty alleviation mechanisms and beneficiaries should not be held liable for commercial banking fees.”
The committee asked National Treasury to assist in ensuring that the South African Post Office (Sapo) deals with the issue, ceasing it from becoming a commercial bank.
Among other concerns raised by the committee was the issue of acting executives at Sassa. It said the committee must provide a comprehensive report on all acting and vacant positions as well as the financial implications thereof.
Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane also promised grants would be paid on time following a post-Cabinet meeting.
The issue did form part of Cabinet&39;s agenda.