Sassa budgeted R2 million for remuneration for a 10-member panel of experts appointed to monitor phasing out of the Cash Paymaster Services contract. Picture: David Ritchie
Durban – The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) budgeted R2 million for remuneration for the 10-member panel of experts appointed to monitor phasing out of the Cash Paymaster Services contract.

The agency wants the experts to tell them the “reasonable” amount that should be paid to them for overseeing the contract for the payment of social grants.

The experts were appointed last week on the order of the Constitutional Court and Sassa is responsible for their remuneration.

On Wednesday Sassa said, during a briefing to the social development portfolio committee, it did not know how experts would be paid and would take its cue from the court.

They already told experts to be “reasonable”, a move prompting a parliamentarian to call for Sassa’s budget not to be “milked”.

Chief finance officer Tsakeriwa Chauke told the committee Sassa budgeted only R2m for the experts’ possible pay until the end of March.

“We made an assumption that it will run until the end of the financial year. If it goes beyond, it will be a problem,” Chauke said.

He said they already raised the need for “reasonableness” of the remuneration to the experts during their engagement last week.

“They indicated they will work on that and they will communicate through the office of the auditor-general,” strategy and business development executive manager Raphaelle Ramokgopa said.

He told the committee the takeover of the payment of social grants would be done in phases.

Sassa chief executive Thokozani Magwaza said they would hear from the experts what they should be paid.

“I did discuss it with the panel of experts and the auditor-general. It needs to be reasonable so whatever they do, they must not come up with a bizarre kind of amount,” Magwaza said.

“The other challenge is how long are they going to be with us. We still have to get a cue from the Constitutional Court,” Magwaza said.

ANC’s Pulani Mogotsi warned about Sassa being “milked” through the remuneration for the experts.

“We must not milk the Sassa budget. The court must assist on this as it was the court that directed it will give Sassa experts,” Mogotsi said.

Experts will give advice about how to go about in-sourcing some of the social grant payment-related services over five years as Sassa had to build its own capacity, including the need to invest in technology, she added.

The Mercury