03/02/2017 15:13 SAST | Updated 06/03/2017 15:57 SAST

Social Development Officials Defied Minister Bathabile Dlamini On Social Grants Plan

Officials revolted over the minister's attempts to meddle in a process that could leave millions without life-saving grants on April 1.

Social development officials defied the minister Bathabile Dlamini after she meddled in their efforts to present a plan on social grants to parliament this week.

AmaBhungane reported that they were approached by several concerned department officials after the minister disrupted their efforts, to extend the current social grants contracts currently in the hands of Cash Paymaster Services, a private contractor. The concern is that this appears to be a corruption of the tender process.

"[The officials told amaBhungane] how Dlamini tried to bigfoot the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) with a last-minute plan to boost the role of private contractors –- particularly that of the controversial incumbent, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) –- in the social grant payment scheme," said the report.

"They said Dlamini's plan contradicted an 'open architecture' alternative that Sassa, Treasury, the Department of Social Development, and the SA Reserve Bank had fleshed out."

In 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that the contract awarded to CPS by the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) had been done on the basis of an extremely flawed process, so much so that the entire deal had to be scrapped. If a new plan is not in place by April 1, it is unclear how 17 million people will receive their grant money.

More than R10 billion is distributed every month to the poorest of the poor, keeping them from living in conditions of abject poverty.