The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) is expecting to conduct a competitive bidding process for a new service provider from July, a Parliamentary reply has revealed.
In her reply to DA MP Evelyn Wilson, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said a bidding committee has already begun work in finding a provider to handle the distribution of 11 million grants.
"The Bid Specification Committee has been appointed and it is in a process of developing draft specifications which will be tabled to the Bid Adjudication Committee for approval," the reply said on Monday.
Dlamini said the procurement process will last for three months, from July through September.
After a successful bidder is selected, the phasing out of current provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and phasing in of the successful candidate, will begin in November, she added.
The current contract with CPS will become invalid on March 31, 2018, essentially giving the new provider five months to successfully migrate.
The CPS contract is worth just over R2bn. It charges the department a rate of R16.44 per grant beneficiary.
The Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered that there be further investigation into whether Dlamini should be held personally liable for the social grants debacle.
Affidavits containing counter allegations between Dlamini, her former director general and the Sassa CEO will be at the centre of a probe ordered by the court.
The parties had 14 days to respond to the court.
Black Sash lawyer Nomonde Nyembe, representing the original applicant to the court in March, said the probe was basically going to be an inquiry process, headed by a referee to determine the facts in dispute.
Nyembe said the process should be public to maintain full integrity, and that an able and impartial "referee" be appointed.
The Social Development Department has the biggest budget in the Cabinet at R160bn. The vast majority of that is funds reserved and secured by Treasury for grant beneficiaries.
The issue of whether third parties can continue to deduct money from grants will remain in court, with Sassa indicating it will be appealing the High Court in Pretoria's May ruling that deductions can still be made.