Picture: David Ritchie/ANA Pictures
Social justice and human rights group Black Sash has welcomed the announcement that a deal has been struck between the SA Post Office and the SA Social Security Agency for a grant payment system.

Black Sash has for years been taking up the beneficiaries’ fight for grant protection and campaigns to stop unauthorised deductions.

Black Sash Gauteng manager Thandiwe Zulu said yesterday while they welcomed the news, they would keep a watchful eye on the process.

“We will monitor whether all beneficiaries get their money on time and get the full amount,” Zulu said.

She said the participation of other partners, including banks, should not see beneficiaries paying charges.

“The amount they receive is meagre, banks should not make the money accessible at a cost,” Zulu said.

Minister in The Presidency for Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe announced the “landmark agreement” between the SA Post Office and Sassa to implement the new grants payment system.

It came after the Constitutional Court in March ordered Sassa and the Department of Social Development find an alternative service provider to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

The contract with CPS for the payment of social grants was declared invalid, but was suspended until the end of the contract period to enable Sassa to “insource” the payment of grants.

Following action by Black Sash action in March 2017, the court further suspended the declaration of invalidity of the CPS contract for another year, to March 2018.

This was to allow the department and Sassa to find a permanent solution to the payment of social grants to all beneficiaries.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) welcomed the signing of the agreement.

Outa portfolio manager for special projects Dominique Msibi said: “We are eagerly waiting to see the details, to ensure that all bases are covered and that the plan is feasible at a reasonable cost. 

"Our main concern is that the recipients must receive their grants without fail,” Msibi said.