9 November 2017

South Africa: Coast Cautiously Welcomes the Sassa and Sapo Takeover of Social Grants

press release

The Congress of South African Trade Unions cautiously welcomes the commitment by the Inter-Ministerial Committee that they are now ready to introduce of an integrated payment system of social grants by government entities South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office (Sapo). This is long overdue and it will go a long way in giving some relief to social grants beneficiaries that there will be uncertainty and bureaucratic bungling, when the current contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) early next year. We are looking forward to the detailed process unpacking the Sassa - Sapo takeover of social grants with clear timeframes. We expect Sapo to take over the whole process and not just manage the fingerprints.

This decision is in keeping with the spirit of both our South African Constitution and the 2014 Manifesto of the ANC. The injunctions of our Constitution place the public service and the broader public-sector at the centre of the socioeconomic development and the 2014 Manifesto states that “to reduce reliance on outsourcing, we will enhance the capacity of the state to directly provide goods and services.” There is neither obvious source nor mandate for the Neoliberal model of governance and operation of the public-sector that has largely characterised the post-Apartheid state.

COSATU salutes both the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) and the Portfolio Committee on Social Development for waking up from their slumber and decisively intervening on this saga and serving the people by holding the executive accountable.

There is still a lot of work to be done though because most of our government departments are the proverbial oil tankers, steeped in neoliberal ideology, so turning them around demands massive effort. The federation still believes that it is travesty that there was no one held accountable for the mess at Sassa. We are still demanding answers and accountability regarding the bureaucratic bungling and arrogance that nearly deprived 17 million people of their livelihood. Minister Bathabile Dlamini has proven herself to be no asset to the Social Development portfolio and she should be released. In order for clean governance to be achieved at Sassa, we demand a full scale forensic audit, including a lifestyle audit of all senior technocrats.

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