Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

Cape Town - South African Post Office (Sapo) executives have told Parliament that there had been attempts by controversial Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to “lure” grant beneficiaries to receive grants through their services.

The executives appeared before Parliament’s portfolio committee on telecommunications and postal services to provide an update on grants and other outstanding backlog issues at the entity.

Post Office chief operating officer Lindiwe Kwele told Parliament there were about 150000 beneficiaries who had not yet presented themselves to collect their new cards.

“Some have also opted for CPS, which has a new name. We have people who chose the green card and might have opted for that. At other pay points you still have some beneficiaries lured to migrate to CPS,” Kwele said.

Last year, Parliament’s portfolio committee on social development requested an inquiry into the relationship between the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and CPS, following allegations of corruption.

It was alleged that CPS officials were misinforming beneficiaries about pay points and social grant cards, allegedly stating that cards had expired and that they needed to re-register for Grindrod cards.

Kwele, however, said Sapo was engaged in a number of measures to ensure that all beneficiaries received their grants through the Post Office.

The Post Office has taken over the payment of grants as part of a Constitutional Court judgment issued in 2017, which found the contract between Sassa and CPS to be unlawful and invalid and ordered that grants be distributed by the state-owned Sapo.

The court also ordered that it be provided with regular updates on the progress made by an inter-ministerial committee set up to oversee the migration process.

The committee also heard that about 70.8% of beneficiaries had been paid through Sapo during the January and February cycle.

Kwele told MPs that, despite the outstanding number of beneficiaries who have not yet migrated to the new system, they had managed to pay about 7.5million through the post office.

“As of December, we were able to migrate 7.5million beneficiaries to the new Sassa card. Over a million went to the commercial banks. As of November, we had about 400000 who needed to be swopped by December.

“We need to intensify our communication to get the 150000 beneficiaries who have not presented themselves to collect their new cards. We are working very closely with the Sassa team,” said Kwele.

Political Bureau