Without mentioning any names, SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande claims there are people in government fighting tooth and nail to keep social grants in the hands of current service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).
Nzimande was speaking at the party’s Red October rally in Durban. He said the SACP had warned against using a foreign company to distribute grants to the poor.
“We were the first to say social grants cannot be paid through outsourced companies. Government must pay and give the money to the Post Office and the Post Office distributes the money to grannies,” he said.
Nzimande said the challenge faced by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) was in stark contrast with the ANC’s talk of radical economic transformation.
Sassa has been locked in a protracted process to successfully migrate the social grants scheme away from CPS by April next year.
Five months now remain for Sassa to find an alternative service provider to handle the core aspects of the grants scheme before the March 31, 2018 deadline, as ordered by the Constitutional Court.
Parliamentarians heard last week that an elusive deal with the SAPO to assist the scheme has until next Friday, November 17, to be signed. This after the two entities reached a deadlock.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said SAPO could provide only one of the four required social grant payment services – the provision of an integrated payment system.
The other three services entailed manufacturing bank cards, the provision of banking services and the option of cash payments at pay points.
In disqualifying SAPO from producing bank cards, Sassa said it had no capacity to produce them, and did not disclose how it would subcontract this component of the tender.
But Treasury said this was unfair because the current contractor, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), “does not render all the services on its own” and that many other government agencies outsourced services.
“You can see that there are some who are fighting tooth and nail for CPS to continue with this tender,” Nzimande said.
Call to campaign
He added that unions and the SACP should fight those who want the grant system to remain in the hands of CPS.
“Let’s continue campaigning and not leave this issue up to Parliament. Parliament is important but we need to stand up and do something.
“Unions who are involved at the post office must not let this go. This matter must not be left to the post office CEO,” he ended.
CPS, which is a division of Net1, was founded by it’s former CEO and chairperson French-born Serge Belamant.
The company won a R10bn grants tender from Sassa in 2012. CPS currently helps Sassa electronically distribute grant payments to over 10 million recipients in South Africa.
In 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that the contract was invalid and instructed the Sassa to find a new provider. When it failed to do so by March 31 2017, the court allowed the contract to be extended until 2018 under stricter conditions.