Picture: David Ritchie/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will on Tuesday hear an urgent application by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) which seeks to extend its contract with Cash Paymaster Services for a further six months. 
Sassa said it is concerned that it is not ready to distribute cash payments to 2.5 million beneficiaries, as the South African Post Office (Sapo), which it has appointed, did not have the capacity to make the cash payments.
If Sassa succeeds, this will be their second extension of their contract with CPS following last year's court order where the Constitutional Court ruled that Sassa would be granted an extension of its contract with CPS for a further 12 months. 
The court made the tough decision as the risk of providing social grants to 17 million South Africans hung in the balance. 
It all started in 2012 with an illegal contract that was awarded to CPS by Sassa for the provision of social grants. The Constitutional Court ruled that this contract was unlawful and that Sassa should make should reissue its tender. But in 2015, Sassa said it would not issue a tender but would instead personally take-over the distribution of social grants. 
As the deadline loomed for the end of the contract with CPS, Sassa told the court that it would not be able to take over the payment of social grants as it was not ready. This led to the March 2017 decision where the Constitutional Court was left with no choice but to extend the CPS contract for a further six months. 
Tuesday's court application includes NGO's such as Black Sash and Freedom Under Law. 
Both organisations do not oppose the extension of the contract for six months, but will argue for more conditions be imposed on Sassa by the court to ensure that it meets the requirements. 
FUL also wants CPS to pay back all audited admitted profits that it made in its contract with Sassa. 
CPS also does not oppose the extension of its contract with Sassa, but the company wants more money for its services.
It will request that the court provide it with permission for it to approach the Treasury and change the amounts charged to distribute social grants to each beneficiary. 

Political Bureau