We’re ready and able to pay social grants‚ post office tells ConCourt
Nomahlubi Jordaan | 2017-03-15 14:27:16.0
The South African Post Office (Sapo) tells ConCourt it is more than capable of distributing grants. File photo
Image by: HALDEN KROG/THE TIMES
With the country facing a “national crisis” over the payment of social grants‚ the South African Post Office (Sapo) says it is more than capable of distributing grants and has a track record of providing the service.
Aslam Bava SC told the Constitutional Court‚ on behalf of Sapo‚ that the organisation has a solution to the grants crisis.
He said the country is currently faced with an “uncomfortable” situation of a private institution holding the state to ransom.
He said Sapo which has asked to be admitted as a friend of the court in the Black Sash application‚ was more than capable of taking over the distribution of grants.
Bava asked the court to terminate the contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and allow Sapo to take over the payment of grants using a “winding down” approach‚ which the court can monitor until the “final” hand-over is done.
“There is a crisis in the country and this crisis needs to be dealt with.
“Sapo is equally capable of carrying out that task [of distributing grants].
“The court is currently faced with the issue of “an illegal contract that has to be extended and the practicalities. We fall within the category of practicalities‚” Bava argued.
He said a report handed to court is evidence that Sapo is capable of distributing social grants.
“Sapo currently operates six million accounts through the Post Bank.
“What is important to note here is that CPS itself is not capacitated enough to carry out its functions [as it has sub-contracted other companies].”
Bava argued that it will be in the interest of the country for Sapo to take over the grant payments.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng asked if Sapo had a track record for providing the service.
“The principle strikes me as a sound one‚ but do you have a track record?”‚ Mogoeng asked to the amusement of the gallery‚ which Bava did not take kindly to.
“Post Bank has a track record. Sapo has been paying 500 000 beneficiaries in the Eastern Cape for the past 10 years.”
According to Bava‚Sapo only needs a month to carry out the payment of grants‚ a contention the Chief Justice queried.
“You’ve got to put systems in place to be able to reach out to people… how do you get to that point within a month?”
Bava said he had sat down with the technical team at Sapo and they assured him that “they will be able to take over the system in a month”.
– TMG Digital