Picture: David Ritchie/ANA Pictures
Picture: David Ritchie/ANA Pictures

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance on Sunday welcomed the signing of the services agreement between the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South Africa Post Office (Sapo) to facilitate implementation of a new social grants payment system from April 1, 2018, and called for the agreement to be tabled in parliament.

"It is very encouraging that the proposed hybrid model will also involve the use of payment platforms incorporating banks, commercial retailers, and small businesses. We welcome the phasing out of cash payments and the building of an inclusive financial system," DA spokeswoman Bridget Masango said.

"The DA now calls on Sassa and the IMC [inter-ministerial committee] to table the agreement in parliament in order to give members an opportunity to interrogate the feasibility of the proposed timelines and cost estimates. There can be no more delays and obstruction by Sassa and social development [department] officials," she said.

Parliament had an obligation to ensure that any agreement reached between Sassa and Sapo was feasible and would not inconvenience millions of South Africans who depended on social grants.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s attempts to "stonewall" the negotiations between Sapo and Sassa had yet again exposed her inability to effectively lead the social development department, Masango said.

"The deal would have been set up far sooner were it not for Dlamini dragging her feet, prioritising political campaigning while putting the livelihoods of millions at risk, in all likelihood for her own personal gain. This suspicion is enforced by the fact that she did not attend this morning's [Sunday] landmark announcement.

"The DA will ensure that parliament plays an effective oversight role over the implementation of the deal. Social grant beneficiaries must continue to receive their grants without any disruption," Masango said.