Zuma gets personally involved with Sassa grant payments

CPS to continue paying grants – but under supervision

The court ordered that Cash Paymaster Services (CPS)‚ performing as an organ of the state‚ continue to pay social grants for the next 12 months.

President Jacob Zuma's announcement at the weekend that he will lead an interministerial committee (IMC) on social security has reportedly raised fears among officials at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) that finding a long-term solution to the payment of social grants to some 11 million citizens next year may be jeopardised.

Zuma said the Court has given clear directives on the extension of the grants distribution and the parameters within which the government must operate in this regard.

This could only be done if a contract was signed, allowing CPS to receive the R11 billion it needed each month to distribute the grants to more than 17 million beneficiaries, he said.

In 2014, South Africa's highest court declared the contract between Sassa and CPS unlawful.

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Minister Bathabile Dlamini, who is in charge of the state's Social Security Agency (Sassa), has been facing growing calls to resign over how she has handled the crisis.

"I want to assure all grant beneficiaries that government will implement the directive of the Constitutional Court and uphold the constitutional rights of the poor and vulnerable in our society".

The court discharged its supervisory role in November 2015 after Sassa informed the court it would not open a new tender and would undertake the payments of grants in-house.

Zuma included Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba to the committee.

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 goal other than the payment of grants. Judge Johan Froneman wrote [Bloomberg report], "t$3 his court and the whole country are now confronted with a situation where the executive arm of government admits that it is not able to fulfill its constitutional and statutory obligations to provide for the social assistance of its people", criticizing South African President Jacob Zuma's [BBC profile] administration. "The IMC will assist Cabinet in moving that process forward". "We apologize to South Africans unreservedly".

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