16 April 2018

South Africa: Bathabile Dlamini and Sassa CEO Face Deadline to Explain Why They Shouldn't Be Held Liable for Grants Extension

Photo: Dept of Social Development
Pearl Bhengu, interim SASSA Acting CEO with Bathabile Dlamini

Embattled Minister in the Presidency for women Bathabile Dlamini and Sassa acting CEO Pearl Bhengu have been given until Monday to explain why they should not foot the bill for the CPS contract extension.

Last month, the Constitutional Court gave Dlamini and Bhengu until Monday to explain, via affidavits, why they should be held personally liable to foot the bill for the extension of the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract to continue distributing social grants.

The Constitutional Court granted Sassa an application to allow CPS to continue distributing the grants by another six months.

Despite granting the extension, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng wanted to know why Sassa only approached the court in February and not in December 2017, when they were aware that an extension would be necessary.

Around 2.8 million beneficiaries - roughly 26% of the scheme, receive their grants in cash.

The court further ordered Dlamini and Bhengu to explain why they should not be held liable for extension of the contract.

For a period of six months from April 1, Sassa and CPS must ensure that the social grants paid to beneficiaries in cash, take place on the same terms and conditions as stipulated in the current contract.

CPS may in writing, request that the National Treasury investigate and make a recommendation regarding the price to be paid for the services it is to render during the six-month period.

Treasury must then file a report with the court, within 21 days of receipt of the request, setting out its recommendation.

At the time, civil rights group Black Sash, which played an integral part in shedding light on the social grants payment crisis, is of the view that the six-month extension is not enough time for Sassa to get a new tender for the cash payment of grants.

"The six-month extension is too tight," a representative told News24 at the time, adding that the bidding process for a new contract was frustrated by a lack of detail in the tender that went out.

"The tender process is nowhere. The biding must start from scratch and thereafter an appointment must still be made," she said.

Source: News24

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