On Wednesday the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) withdrew its application to the Constitutional Court for an extension of a social grants distribution contract it ruled "invalid" and "unconstitutional" in 2014.
On Tuesday, Sassa appeared before the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) to account for its proposed extension to the arrangement with current service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), who are responsible for the grant payments for 17 million South Africans. That agreement ends on March 31.
Sassa told Parliament on Tuesday it didn't have a plan but would probably set up a new contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to pay grants after March — while quietly filing papers at the Constitutional Court asking to be allowed to hire CPS for another year.
The Concourt gave Sassa three years to sort out the illegal CPS contract for distributing social grants, but the agency is asking the court for another year's grace.
The social security agency approached the Concourt for an order "authorising Sassa to engage CPS to provide services for the payment of social grants for the period April 1, 2017 to March 30, 2018", reported the Mail & Guardian, saying the papers were filed on Tuesday afternoon. The newspaper published a copy of the court papers on its website.
Sassa wants the Concourt to allow it to file a report by October on its readiness to take over paying the grants and when it will be able to do this.
Sassa's spokesperson Kgomotso Diseko told Business Day on Wednesday that "the reason at the moment is the fact that there were ... inputs not included... [and the application] will be relodged".