Grants payment debacle cries out for a review‚ Corruption Watch tells ConCourt
Ernest Mabuza | 2017-03-15 13:31:47.0
ConCourt hears social grants oversight application
Image by: YouTube/ SABC news
The Constitutional Court may legally extend the contract for the payment of grants to prevent the interruption of grant payments‚ Corruption Watch said in a submission to the court on Wednesday.
However‚ there was a need for an investigation as to why the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) was unable to have a new contractor in place by April 1 to pay an estimated 17 million social grants to more than 11 million people.
“A proper review of why Sassa failed to get new contractor is essential‚ but not enough‚” Carol Steinberg‚ advocate for Corruption Watch said. “In addition‚ this matter is crying out for investigation.
We have a Public Protector and courts.” She said a review would ask questions about the cause for Sassa’s failure to get a new contractor‚ and whether this was deliberate.
“These are questions to which the public demand answers. There are enough red flags for the court to consider what happened‚” Steinberg said. The contract between the Sassa and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) expires in 16 days and Sassa only informed the court on March 3 it was unable to pay the grant recipients on its own.
The contract‚ which expires on March 31 was declared by the Constitutional Court to be invalid in 2014.
However‚ the court suspended its order to allow Sassa to undertake a new tender process to appoint a new contractor for the payment of grants.
Sassa informed the court in 2015 it would not appoint a new contractor and would take over the payment of grant recipients itself.
Steinberg said by extending the contract‚ the court would be in a position to ensure that parties do not make more unlawful actions.
She said there was no obstacle from the court extending the contract the court declared invalid in 2014.
“The contract was already unlawful in March 2014. This court had a power to low the contract to operate‚” Steinberg said. Corruption Watch proposed the appointment of two special masters to supervise the process and reporting going forward.
– TMG Digital