Sassa's offices in Pretoria. CPS can apply for the Sassa contract renewal.Photo: Oupa Mokoena
JOHANNESBURG - Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), a subsidiary of JSE-listed Net 1 UEPS Technologies, said yesterday that it had not decided whether it would participate in South Africa’s social grants contract, despite Friday’s Constitutional Court order which paved the way for the company to bid for it.

CPS said it had obtained the South Africa Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) tender bid documentation. “The company cannot predict the timing of the Sassa tender process, whether it will actually participate or what the outcome will be.

“The Constitutional Court has also scheduled a hearing on March 6 to consider Sassa’s application for a six-month extension of its contract with CPS, which expires on March 31,” CPS said. The court ruled that CPS was not precluded from participating in Sassa’s tender process, which commenced in December last year. The court order followed a misunderstanding between CPS and Sassa over CPS’s eligibility to participate in Sassa’s social grants contract.

Net1 chief executive Herman Kotze earlier this month told Business Report that CPS could participate in the new tender for cash payment services when its current contract comes to an end.

But before doing so, the company wanted the Constitutional Court to rule on whether it was eligible to bid for Sassa contracts. The closing date for the tender is tomorrow.

CPS took the matter to court, because there was a misunderstanding between the company and Sassa on the company’s eligibility to participate in the tender.

In papers to the court, CPS argued that Sassa had misinterpreted a 2017 Constitutional Court order, which ruled that CPS’ contract was invalid.

Sassa has applied to the Constitutional Court for a six-month extension of the social grants contract when the current contract ends on March 31.

CPS has already filed its papers in response to Sassa. In its papers, CPS wanted clarity on what was expected of it in the six months.

“We are not opposing their application for an extension. We understand that there cannot be a disruption or any issues around the payment of grants. We will do whatever we can, within our powers and the Constitutional Court framework, to assist with a transition that ensures that there is no disruption,” Kotze said at the time.

In its order on Friday, the court said that CPS’ eligibility to take part in future tender processes was not in issue in the application in which the judgment was handed down by it on March 17 last year, and that judgment did not render CPS ineligible to participate in Sassa’s tender process.

In terms of the current contract, Sassa pays CPS R1.8billion a year, excluding VAT.

South Africa has 10.7million social grant beneficiaries.

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE