Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe,who is also the team convenor of the Ministerial Task Team that was set up to address the issue of the payment of social grants to beneficiaries, on Friday expressed government’s appreciation to the apex court.
“The South African government cares for its people and today’s ruling is indicative of a progressive democratic nation. Government accepts unconditionally the judgement and directives of the Constitutional Court,” the Minister said following the ConCourt’s judgement.
The court ordered that the invalid contract for CPS to pay SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) grants be extended for 12 months, under the same terms and conditions, and under strict supervision.
Minister Radebe further added: “Beneficiaries can rest assured that social grants will be paid on 1 April 2017. As we approach Freedom Month, the combined efforts of the arms of government – the Judiciary, the Executive and Legislative, ensured that the needs of our people are addressed and their rights as enshrined in the Constitution are protected”.
The Ministerial Task Team will study the judgement with a view of implementing the ruling, and together with the technical team, will ensure the smooth transition of grant payments following the 12 month renewal period.
Government’s social assistance programme remains an important safety net for millions of South Africans and all dedicated resources and expertise needed to ensure the smooth payment of social grants will be put in place.
Cash Paymaster Services (CPS)
CPS is responsible for the distribution of social grants to 17 million beneficiaries. Its contract, which was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2014, would have come to an end on 31 March 2017. The court, however, suspended the invalidity so grants could continue to be paid while SASSA made another plan.
Today’s judgment was handed down by Constitutional High Court Justice Johan Froneman.
The court suspended the declaration of the invalidation of the CPS contract for a period of 12 months from 1 April 2017.
The court ordered that the terms and conditions of the contract shall contain adequate safeguards to ensure that personal data of grant beneficiaries remains private and may not be used for any purpose other than the payment of grants.
Within 30 days of the completion of the period of the contract, CPS must file with the court audited statements of the expenses incurred, income received and net profit earned under the contract.
The court also ordered SASSA to obtain an independent audited verification of the statements provided by CPS. The ordered verification must be approved by National Treasury and the audited verification must be filed by SASSA within a period of 60 days.
The court further ordered CPS to permit auditors appointed by SASSA to have access to its financial information, and that the Minister of Social Development and SASSA must file a report on affidavits with the court every three months.
The report must set out how they plan to ensure the payment of social grants after the contract expires, what steps they have taken in that regard, what further steps they will take and when they will take future steps to ensure that the payment of social grants are made.