Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini says it’s “business as usual” despite a high court ruling that the process followed in awarding the contract to distribute social grants to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) was illegal and invalid.
Briefing journalists in Cape Town on Wednesday, Dlamini said she would ensure grant beneficiaries continued to receive their payments.
“We want to reassure all our 10.5 million beneficiaries that the 16 million social grants will be paid without disruption – it is business as usual,” she said.
Tuesday’s ruling by the Pretoria High Court followed the awarding of the contract to CPS earlier this year by the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa), which had received tenders fom 21 bidders.
Other bidders, including AllPay, lodged a complaint with the court, arguing that the bid process was flawed.
The court agreed, but did not set the contract aside.
“We agree with the court that the continued service to the citizens is of paramount importance,” Dlamini said.
She said the contract – worth R10 billion over the next five years – would be the last time the government outsourced the service.
Several cases of fraud and corruption had been reported.
The department had found 482 beneficiaries receiving grants “outside the borders of South Africa”, said Dlamini.
Her department would investigate this.
Last year, 37 Sassa officials had been reported for fraud and 16 found guilty, while nine officials had been reported this year and one had been found guilty.
DA spokesman Mike Waters asked Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Wednesday to include the court judgment in her investigation of the Sassa tender process.
Waters said there was a need to “ascertain who will be held accountable” for the contract.
“The minister must provide more clarity on exactly which aspects of the tender award were deemed illegal and invalid,” he said.
IFP spokeswoman Helen Makhuba questioned the department’s handling of the bid process.
“How could the department fail to do the necessary assessments of the company before awarding the tender?” she said in a statement.
Makhuba said it was surprising that the court had allowed CPS to continue providing the service.
She said her party would have liked the court to order the department to begin the tender process afresh.
“We cannot let a company that got the tender illegally and invalidly continue with it… and there seems always to be a link with government officials and ANC cadres. Meanwhile, those not affiliated with the ANC have no hope of getting tenders,” Makhuba said.
AllPay spokesman Anthony Norton said the court finding vindicated his firm’s stance.
“We are disappointed that the court did not set aside the award of the tender due to practical considerations, and so we are considering our options,” Norton said.
Sassa chief executive Virginia Petersen told journalists that the new biometric system used to identify beneficiaries though fingerprint verification would improve security and reduce the risk of fraud and corruption.