The Constitutional Court File picture: Matthews Baloyi/Independent Media
The Constitutional Court File picture: Matthews Baloyi/Independent Media

Sassa ConCourt ruling broadly welcomed

By Nicola Mawson Time of article published Mar 17, 2017

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Johannesburg – Several political parties and other civil

society representatives have come out in favour of Friday’s Constitutional

Court ruling.

The ruling by the highest court in the country will see

grants continued to be paid out to some 17 million South Africans when the

current contract expires at the end of the month.

The matter came before the court as the results of civil

society intervention, with the Black Sash wanting the court to have oversight

of any contracts inked to ensure the R150 billion a year is paid to recipients.

The matter blew up after a 2014 ruling that found that

Net1 subsidiary Cash Paymaster Services’ contract – worth R10 billion – was not

valid, but the Department of Social Development and the South African Social

Security Agency (SASSA) did not appoint a new service provider.

On Friday, the Office of the ANC Chief Whip welcomed the

judgment, noting that the ruling – which also included strict conditions - gives

SASSA, working together with other state entities, sufficient time to improve

state capacity to deliver social grants.

“We are of the firm view that core service delivery

functions of the state must be carried out by state institutions and not left

to the private sector.”

The ANC’s office adds the ruling also protects grant

recipients’ information. “This provision will ensure that social grant

recipients, who are often vulnerable to various forms of exploitation, will be

protected.”

There had previously been concerns that CPS had shared

details with other parties so as to tie grant recipients into loan deals that

saw their grants debited before they could use them on essentials.

In addition, the ANC says it will “take the necessary

steps to ensure that those involved in this matter are held accountable for

their actions or lack thereof”.

Social Development minister Bathabile Dlamini has come

under fire for not acting sooner, and there have been several calls for her

axing.

Meanwhile, the ANC Women’s League also welcomed the

ruling, noting it has “always assured the citizens of the country that social

grant recipients will receive their grant payments on April 1.”

However, Save South Africa says Dlamini must do the right thing: quit, and pay the

bill for her incompetence.

The Constitutional

Court has given the minister a short while to file papers as to why she should not

pay costs.

Read also:  Scopa welcomes ConCourt judgment on social grants

“Today’s Constitutional Court judgment is a damning

indictment of how little regard Dlamini has for the poor, the indigent and the

vulnerable, and she should hang her head in shame. Because of her, the

Constitutional Court has been forced to hand down an exceptional and

extraordinary order which in essence means that a failing government is being

run by the court,” says Save South Africa in a Friday statement.

“Save South Africa commends the role played by the

Constitutional Court, and salutes those in civil society and the media who have

pursued this matter so consistently. Once again, we should appreciate the

instruments of our democracy – and how increasingly we need to use these

instruments to protect against the abuse of state power.”

Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ngungane also added his voice to the debate, thanking the

court and slamming the minister. 

“South Africa owes a debt of gratitude to the

independence of the judiciary in general and in particular to its esteemed

Constitutional Court.”

Ngungane says the

court “effectively rescued the South African government’s inept

oversight of social grant payouts from total disaster”.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts has also

welcomed the ruling.

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