Johannesburg – The Constitutional Court has ordered that the contract between the South African Social Services Agency (Sassa) and Cash Paymaster Services continue for another year.
Handing down judgment at the court on Friday morning Justice Johan Coenraad Froneman said the contract will continue under the same conditions and grant recipients data be used for nothing other than payments of grants.
Sassa and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini have also been ordered to file affidavits every three months with the court on how they will pay grants at the end of the contract.
Froneman said the "extraordinary conduct" of Dlamini and Sassa placed in jeopardy the right of millions of people's right to social security
He said Dlamini was aware from April 2016 that there were problems with the contract but did not approach the court. "No papers in front of us to show she showed interest in Sassa before then," Froneman said.
He said accountability was the central value of government.
Froneman then ordered that Dlamini file an affidavit stating why she should not be held personally accountable for the debacle and why she shouldn't pay costs from her own money.
"The primary threat is the right of millions of people with regards to social assistance," Froneman said.
On Wednesday, the Constitutional Court heard an application brought by the Black Sash seeking the reinstatement of the court’s oversight role over how social grants were paid.
The current contract with CPS was found to be illegal in 2014 and expires at the end of this month.
Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who called the social grant debacle a “crisis”, wanted to know why Dlamini and Sassa did not approach the court on time when they realised they could not administer grant payments.