13/02/2017 08:30 SAST | Updated 13/02/2017 13:32 SAST

Sassa Has Finally Decided To Meet With Its Contractor CPS -- 7 Weeks Before The End Of Contract

It is still unclear whether the contract will be extended or not.

Antonio Muchave/Gallo Images
A group of pensioners still in shock after a robbery on May 03, 2016 in Soweto, South Africa. One pensioner was shot dead and a security officer was wounded during the robbery at the Sassa offices in Diepkloof.

Just weeks away from the deadline to either extend the contract to provide social grants or cancel it, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has only just sought an "exploratory meeting" with CPS, its current service provider, to discuss the contract, Business Day reported.

Sassa's contract with CPS expires at the end of March. The contract was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2014, but the contract was not cancelled so as not to interrupt the supply of grants to nearly 17 million beneficiaries.

But instead of appointing a new contractor, Sassa told Parliament on February 1 that it planned to extend CPS' contract.

But Business Day reported on Monday that there had been no formal expression of intent by Sassa to do so until Thursday. The paper said this was the first "formal" communication between Sassa and CPS, although behind-the-scenes discussions had been going on for a year.

Now, seven weeks before the deadline, Sassa is reportedly seeking an "exploratory" meeting with CPS, the paper said.

This was reportedly revealed during a conference call between CPS and analysts on Friday. During the call, Serge Belamant, who is the CEO of CPS's holding company NET1, said it was not clear whether the contract could legally be extended or if a new "transition" contract would be needed.