CPS demands a new contract with Sassa to carry out its ‘constitutional” obligation
Nomahlubi Jordaan | 2017-03-15 16:25:07.0
CPS Chief Executive Officer Serge Belamant
Image by: KEVIN SUTHERLAND / SUNDAY TIMES
Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) concedes it has a “constitutional” obligation to distribute social grants after March 31 if there is no other entity able to provide the service‚ but it demands that a new contract be concluded between itself and the SA Social Security Service (Sassa).
Alfred Cockrell SC for CPS told the Constitutional Court that CPS accepts it cannot just walk away without ensuring that social grants will be distributed to the 17 million beneficiaries who depend on them.
“My client says that if it were not for the constitutional obligation‚ it would not continue after 1 April. “It [CPS] understands it can’t just walk away if there is no one to provide the service.”
Cockrell said if the court was persuaded by the SA Post Office’s argument that it is ready to take over the payments of grants‚ CPS will walk away. He asked the court to issue a directive that orders CPS to conclude a new and “lawful” contract with Sassa to ensure that social grants are paid by April 1.
“In order to carry out its constitutional obligation‚ my client would require a new contract with Sassa. “My client will not pay be able to pay without a contract. In an absence of a contract‚ my client will be unable to discharge its constitutional obligation.”
Cockrell told the court that if his client concludes a contracts with Sassa‚ it will “behave reasonably”. “Any contract between Sassa and CPS has to be lawful beyond 31 March.
There is no point in telling my client that it has a void contract [with Sassa]. My client has walked down this road before. It has seen that movie and it doesn’t want to see [it] again.”
Rights group Black Sash on Wednesday asked the court to play an oversight role in the payment of social grants in South Africa. Sassa and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini do not oppose the relief sought by Black Sash.
The court had in 2014 declared the five-year Sassa contract with CPS‚ signed in 2012‚ invalid due to tender irregularities. However‚ the court allowed CPS to continue administering the grants‚ while Sassa devised an in-house payment system. But on March 3 this year‚ Sassa and the Department of Social Development informed the court that it was not in a position to take over the payment functions from CPS.
– TMG Digital