While officials from the department of social development and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) were side-lined, a small group of "hand-picked" advisers were chosen to put together the new agreement with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).
According to Business Day on Tuesday, these advisers appear to have been irregularly appointed, and were appointed to work with "work streams", which they later headed.
The work streams were themed around topics like "banking services and project management", which often usurped the work of departmental officials already working on these themes.
Business Day reported that departmental and Sassa officials were "irate" when there work was allegedly hijacked in this way. The paper quoted three highly placed sources who said that Sassa also did not follow the correct procedures to appoint these advisers.
The Sassa workstream leaders were also part of negotiations with CPS over the new social grants contract.
There also appeared to be some irregularities around conflicts of interest. In one case, one work stream leader's lawfirm was appointed to represent Sassa at the Constitutional Court "at the last minute".
Sassa had until 4pm on Monday to respond to questions asked by the Constitutional Court on the social grants tender, including when Sassa knew it would not be able to provide the service itself.