NEWS

Another Social Grants Crisis Avoided, But MPs Are Sceptical

MPs say there must be an investigation into who engineered the social grants crisis.

09/11/2017 07:13 SAST | Updated 09/11/2017 07:13 SAST
Daniel Born/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

On paper, the social grants crisis appears to have been narrowly avoided, with a new deal that will see the South African Post Office (Sapo) take over the payment of grants to recipients. But MPs are not convinced that the crisis is over, and have called for more investigations into why the crisis occurred in the first place.

The department of social development and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) locked horns over a stalled negotiation process, with social development minister saying Sapo did not have the capacity to distribute social grants to 17-million beneficiaries, according to The Times. But Sapo CEO Mark Barnes denied this.

A new distributor has to be found by April next year since the Constitutional Court nullified the contract of the previous service provider, CPS.

An interministerial committee led by minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe intervened last week when Sapo and Sassa could not come to an agreement.

On Wednesday, Radebe reportedly told MPs that following a meeting which ended at midnight on Tuesday, an agreement had been hashed out, the details of which would be fleshed out next Friday.

But the Times reported that MPs were sceptical.

EFF MP Ntombovuyo Mente reportedly said, "Who is engineering the delay? We're not going to run away from that. We're not going to do oversight, which is suppressed. In Sassa, whoever is dealing with specifications deliberately delayed the process and the Hawks must investigate... This is crime."

According to News24, a letter from Treasury to Sassa revealed that Treasury felt Sassa was wrong to disqualify Sapo from taking over from CPS.

"Sassa should not have approved the disqualification of Sapo on three areas, but rather seek to engage and explore options on possible ways to close the capacity gap or seek the intervention of the interministerial committee," the letter read.