There’s still time to pay grants by April 1‚ but only just: CPS boss
Katharine Child | 2017-03-15 19:15:31.0
CPS Chief Executive Officer Serge Belamant
Image by: KEVIN SUTHERLAND / SUNDAY TIMES
Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) CEO Serge Belamant attended the Constitutional Court case brought by Black Sash to ensure social grants are paid on April 1 and hopes there will be a judgment on Thursday.
He told TMG Digital that although CPS had said in court papers that grants would be paid late if the contract with the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) was not signed on Wednesday‚ there were about two days more grace.
But he wanted the court to rule on Thursday so that a contract can be signed and processes can be begin to pay the grants. Belamant echoed his lawyer‚ Alfred Cockrell SC’s argument in court that the company cannot pay grants without a contract and an agreed price.
“My board will insist on that [contract]‚” Belamant said.
“It takes 12 working days for the payment process to be completed‚” he warned.
“There is a little bit of play there and there [even though the contract wasn’t signed].” But “If Sassa doesn’t transfer money to us in four working days before payment then we in trouble‚ then we can’t place all our cash orders.”
He said one way to speed things up would be to have Treasury start the process immediately and on Thursday pay Sassa as it needs to do. “The trick is this that Treasury have got to transfer money to Sassa. That takes two days. In theory whether we are in or out [of contract] Treasury can still transfer the money to Sassa tomorrow [Thursday]. “That would give a few days grace‚” he said.
Speaking on the court case he said: “In the end it sounded reasonably simple. We have this invalid contract with Sassa which the court needs to make valid or it needs to make a new contract‚ which is a technicality … but is the same thing.”
CPS have asked for a CPI Increase on the cost of distributing grants‚ which is currently R16. 44 a person. “A CPI increase is not much to ask for‚” said Belamant. He said they want to make 20% profit on paying grants which he finds reasonable. Belamant insisted CPS was not to blame for the crisis‚ as Sassa processes caused the previous contract to be invalid.
He also laid into David Unterhalter SC‚ representing Freedom Under Law. Unterhalter had told the court that CPS shouldn’t make any money from the extension of the contract.
Belamant accused Unterhalter of being bitter because a client of his lost a previous court case against CPS.
Absa subsidiary‚ All Pay‚ previously took CPS to court after it lost the Sassa tender in what it said was unfair tender process.
“Unterhalter is just saying the same thing he said in court for All Pay three years ago‚” Belamant said.
– TMG Digital