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Cape Town - The dispute between the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) over claims of more than R1 billion will be resolved in July, following the postponement of arbitration meetings, Sassa acting spokesperson Moabi Pitsi said on Friday.

On Thursday, it emerged that CPS was claiming R1.3 billion from Sassa for what it said was alleged breach of the terms of the social grant payment services contracts when Sassa moved beneficiaries from receiving their grants at CPS pay points to commercial banks.

Sassa has rejected the claims, preferring the withdrawal of the matter without any form of payment.

According to Sassa, the contracts in question were concluded in 2009 for five regions, namely the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Northern Cape and North West.

“Upon rejection of the claims by Sassa, the parties agreed that the matters be referred for arbitration, as provided for in the contracts. The arbitration proceedings involved the exchange of pleadings, appointment of presiding officers, holding of pre-arbitration meetings and the actual setting down of the arbitration proceedings for hearing,” said Pearl Bengu, acting Sassa CEO, said on Thursday.

Sassa said that after settlement solutions did not succeed despite several attempts, it was decided to proceed with arbitration. The initial amount claimed by CPS was R1.3 billion, but this has since decreased to R792 853 000, after CPS withdrew some of the claims.

Sassa said: “CPS has recently confirmed that it is no longer proceeding with its claims for the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Northern Cape regions. This consequently led to the withdrawal of the agency’s counterclaim.”

African News Agency/ANA