Ministers shut down Sassa-CPS talks: report

A ministerial committee including finance minister Pravin Gordhan and home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba has shut down a potential new grants payment deal between Sassa and CPS, the Mail & Guardian reports.

The DA confirmed on Monday (13 March) that it found that no official deal had been made between Sassa and Cash Paymaster Services – the company whose contract with the agency had been deemed illegal and invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2014.

According to the Mail & Guardian, a task team of cabinet ministers assessed a potential new deal that was being negotiated by Sassa and CPS to continue the payments for two years while the agency and the department of social development found a new way to pay.

Sassa was supposed to take over the payments of 17 million social grants from April 2017, but revealed that it had no plan in place – nor the capacity – to do so.

In a submission to the Constitutional Court explaining the delay and the problems with the payment scheme, acting Sassa CEO Wiseman Magasela told the court that a committee headed by minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe rejected the two-year tie up.

The committee said that negotiations with CPS should be terminated, and only started again once National Treasury has given written approval.

The task team also included finance minister Pravin Gordhan, state security minister David Mahlobo, home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba, telecommunications minister Siyabonga Cwele, and science and technology minister Naledi Pandor

Treasury has previously indicated that it cannot condone any negotiations with CPS unless it is given the all clear by the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court has been asked to intervene on the grants crisis, and is expected to hear the matter on Wednesday (15 March). Without an agreement with CPS, it is unknown how the department of social development will deliver 17 million grants, with less than a month to go before the deadline.

Social development minister and president Jacob Zuma have made guarantees to the people of South Africa who depend on the grants, that they will be paid.

Read: Presidency unaware of ‘secret’ meetings between SASSA and Zuma advisor

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Ministers shut down Sassa-CPS talks: report