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FUL: Dlamini Showed Contempt For Social Grant Recipients

"It could only have been uttered with the greatest insincerity and contempt."

22/10/2017 06:37 SAST | Updated 22/10/2017 06:38 SAST
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Freedom Under Law (FUL) has accused Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini of showing contempt for social grant recipients and the Constitutional Court.

FUL was responding to a report, by the expert panel appointed by the Constitutional Court to monitor the transition to a new social grants payment system, which criticised the decision to appoint the South African Post Office (SAPO) to take over the payment of social grants.

The offer followed talks between Sassa and SAPO, the Department of Social Development announced on Thursday last week.

"What the expert report makes resoundingly clear is that the minister's statement earlier this week that she, the department and Sassa have been hard at work trying to find the best solution for the payment of social grants cannot be accepted," FUL said in a statement on Saturday.

"It could only have been uttered with the greatest insincerity and contempt. Contempt for the millions of grant recipients, the most vulnerable of our population, whose livelihoods are again being put at risk.

"Contempt for our constitutional order which in all probability will face yet another social grants crisis. And contempt for the highest court in our land which put in place a specially crafted oversight regime to cure such crisis but which is now being flagrantly disregarded."

FUL said that expert panel's report had revealed that it had seen "no evidence of a proper evaluation of the merits of such an appointment".

"In fact, the panel indicates that there are significant risks associated with the appointment and there is nothing to suggest that any efforts have been made to mitigate such risks.

"Moreover, the absence of information as to the due diligence undertaken in respect of SAPO suggests that there has been no identification of what other service providers will need to be appointed. Accordingly, without again deviating from normal tender processes, there now isn't enough time to appoint suitable service providers before the CPS contract expires on 31 March 2018," FUL said.

The announcement of the offer to SAPO last week followed Sassa missing a key parliamentary briefing to update MPs about its plans to terminate the relationship with CPS.

"The minister indicated that SAPO as a state entity could play a role and participate as merchants where they meet Sassa's mandatory radius.

"This can assist SAPO to revive some of its closed outlets especially in the rural areas and townships and is in line with the department's commitment in promoting Government to Government partnership as outlined in the report to the Constitutional Court," the department said.

Dlamini had promised that a social grants distribution agreement would be signed by September 20, yet declined to appear before Parliament to explain why the deadline was missed.

The deal to shift the payment of the 17 million social grant beneficiaries was motivated after the Constitutional Court found the agreement between Sassa and CPS invalid.

Sassa however, failed to appoint an alternative service provider, forcing the court to grant an extension of the invalid agreement.