Sassa ConCourt ruling broadly welcomed
Johannesburg – Several political parties and other civil
society representatives have come out in favour of Friday’s Constitutional
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
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
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.
Court has given the minister a short while to file papers as to why she should not
“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
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.