19 May 2017

South Africa: 23 Expert Names Submitted to Concourt to Assist Sassa

A total of 23 names have been nominated as technical experts to come on board to assist the South African Social Security Agency to take over the national social grants scheme.

The Constitutional Court ordered in March that, among other things, a panel of experts be appointed to assist Sassa in phasing out current service provider Cash Paymaster Services.

Sassa chief financial officer Tsakeriwa Chauke on Friday revealed that the names were submitted to the court on Wednesday, and now requires Sassa and the applicant, NGO Black Sash, to come to an agreement on the final list of experts.

"The court has also raised the question about how much they should be paid, and who should bear the costs," Chauke told the portfolio committee on social development.

The court has given Sassa and Black Sash 10 days to come to an agreement.

Sassa chief executive officer Thokozani Magwaza said he hoped all aspects of the advisory panel will be settled in time for Sassa to compile its first quarterly report to the Constitutional Court.

Magwaza assured that the portfolio committee and the minister will have the first bite before they send the report to the Constitutional Court on June 17.

Updated annual plan

Sassa finally filed its annual performance and budget plan with the portfolio committee after it was told it needed to update its plan to accommodate the Constitutional Court ruling last week.

Sassa's budget for administrative costs for the 2017/18 financial year will be R7.7bn.

The court order did not change much with regards to its overall budgetary needs, but did raise questions over the financials of the new technical team and legal fees.

An extra R500 000 will be needed for an insourcing contract with Qlink.

A Sassa holding account will need to be set up as well for just under R30m, which will aid in transfers to commercial banks, but is not required for the 2017/18 year.

Phasing in of a new Sassa card too will be calculated for the next financial year.

Submitting quarterly constitutional reports will cost roughly R2m a quarter in legal fees.

Lastly, the migration of data from CPS to Sassa, the biggest of the projects which is already underway, was accounted for in the last budget.

Eventually, when Sassa is ready to take over the grants system in full, its operational costs will be R2.3bn, roughly the value of the current CPS contract per year.

Committee chairperson Rose Capa said she and all MPs were finally happy with the presentation, and considered it in "good order".

Source: News24

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