10 March 2017

South Africa: Post Office Goes After Sassa Contract

Photo: allafrica.com
Left: South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Top-right: Sassa vehicle. Bottom-right: Judge's gavel.

The South African Post Office says it could take over the social grants payment contract from Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) in six months.

Attorneys for the Post Office have written to the Black Sash asking for approval for an application to intervene in the case brought by the Black Sash before the Constitutional Court next week. The Black Sash is asking the Court to take back oversight of social grant payments to 17 million beneficiaries when the current SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) contract with CPS expires on 31 March. SASSA was to take over the contract before this deadline but the agency has acknowledged that it will not be able to do so and will have to negotiate a new contract with CPS.

The Post Office is hoping to be admitted as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the Black Sash application.

In the letter to the Black Sash, the attorneys say the Post Office would like the opportunity to show the Court that it has the administrative capacity to take over from CPS.

They say the Post Office would propose a six month transition period.

Granting the contract to the Post Office, an organ of state, would "be of benefit to the citizens of the country" as a costs saving to the fiscus, they say.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, accused by MPs of favouring CPS over the Post Office, has said she is not opposed to Post Office involvement in the payment system, but that CPS objected.

SASSA CEO Thokozani Magwaza has said the problem is that the Post Office has only 2,567 outlets, mostly in peri-urban areas, while the current system offers 10,000 outlets, mostly in rural areas.

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