ConCourt to hear grants contract submissions

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iol news pic Constitutional Court ConCourt INDEPENDENT MEDIA The Constitutional Court in Johannesburg. File picture: TIRO RAMATLHATSE

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will hear submissions on Tuesday for a just and equitable solution to a social grants contract that it previously found to be invalid.

In November, the Constitutional Court declared the tender awarded to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) by the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) constitutionally invalid.

The court ordered that the declaration of invalidity be suspended until a just and equitable remedy to the situation was found.

AllPay Consolidated Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, which lost the R10 billion tender to CPS, took the matter to the Constitutional Court.

This was after the high court declared the tender process procedurally unfair. The high court declared the process invalid, but declined to set the tender aside because it would disrupt the payment of social grants.

AllPay then appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which overturned the high court's order due to “inconsequential irregularities”. On this basis it concluded that the award of the tender to CPS was not unfair.

The Constitutional Court later found that Sassa had failed to give due regard to the importance of black economic empowerment in procurement.

Sassa should have investigated and confirmed the empowerment credentials of bidders before the award.

When the Constitutional Court declared the decision to award the tender to CPS constitutionally invalid, but found that if the tender were set aside it could cause serious disruption to the payment of social grants.

AllPay argued that the only just and equitable solution would be to temporarily suspend the declaration of invalidity so that a new tender process could appoint a new contractor to take over.

Corruption Watch and the Centre for Child Law (CCL), represented by the Legal Resource Centre (LRC), joined the case as amicus curiae or “friends of the court”.

The CCL and LRC said in a statement on Monday that their lawyers would ensure that court considered the interests of grant recipients.

The CCL and LRC said there were 15 644 273 grant recipients, most of them children.

Sapa


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