Picture: David Ritchie/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has hailed the Gauteng High Court decision ordering Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to pay back R316 million to the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) as a victory against maladministration and corruption "embedded" in bid processes and state contract management.

“Consequence management must be strengthened as part of the resolve to eradicate corruption tender awarding process and squandering of resources that are supposed to mitigate against grinding poverty, unemployment, and inequality affecting the most vulnerable in our society,” Sanco national spokesman Jabu Mahlangu said on Saturday.

On Friday, the court ruled that the payment to CPS was unlawful and “effected for ulterior purposes or motive”. The court found that though Sassa and CPS had in terms of the service level agreement they had signed agreed that Sassa would pay CPS R16.44 to capture the information of each grant recipient, an invoice issued by CPS to Sassa for the payment of R316 million reflected a price of R23.20 per “re-registration” of beneficiaries. CPS had also charged extra to capture information regarding children.

Judge Moroa Tsoka said, “As a result of Sassa’s unlawful conduct the fiscus has been robbed of a substantial amount of money intended for the most vulnerable and poor people of our country."

Mahlangu said corruption represented "a bleed of the economy that needs to be attended to and immediately stopped".

“It has eroded public confidence in our democracy and should thus be prioritised to reclaim public institutions from institutionalised corruption syndicates, entrench the rule of law, fair administrative justice, and prudent financial management,” he said.

The zero tolerance against corruption demonstrated by the judiciary should be adopted by the executive arm of the state. “The public, private, and civil society partnership against corruption must be revived and the state reclaim its courage to tackle the scourge across all sectors of society,” Mahlangu said.

African News Agency/ANA