The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is appalled and dismayed by the ineptitude of the Department of Social Development and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) over the social grant payment issue.
Frowning at the manner in which the Department and SASSA have handled the transitioning of the social grant payment system, the Fighters charged that the minister responsible for social development (Minister Bathabile Dlamini) should step down and allow capable people to politically oversee the in sourcing of the social grant payment system.
The issue surrounding SASSA’s readiness to distribute social grant payments by 1st April 2017 started when the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) was awarded the contract to distribute social grants in 2012.
When the decision to hand CPS the contract was challenged and in November 2013, the Constitutional Court ruled that the tender was invalid and ordered that the tender process be re-run‚ but with no disruption to grant payments.
The Constitutional Court decision was for CPS to be responsible for the distribution of grants until a valid tender was awarded or, the expiry of their contract with SASSA on 31 March 2017.
Later the court ordered SASSA to award social grants payment tender by October 2015. Again, SASSA failed to do so saying those who submitted proposals for the tender weren’t qualified to take the deal.
Afterwards, SASSA proclaimed that they will take charge of the payment of social grants come 1st of April 2017.
According to the Fighters, they repeatedly asked the department of Social Development in 2016 if SASSA would be ready to take over the task of distributing grants to over 17 million social grant recipients by the 1st of April 2017.
“..We were always assured that this would be the case. As recent as November 2016, the Department of Social Development and SASSA were adamant that SASSA would be ready to take over the payment of grants.
We were therefore shocked to hear at the meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development…that SASSA and the department have no plan on the table, and are not ready to take over the payment of social grants from 01 April 2017,” EFF said.
Now, it has emerged that the Department of Social Development and SASSA is getting set to approach the Constitutional Court and get the permission to further extend the contract that was illegally awarded to the CPS for another year
Reacting to that, the EFF wailed that “the poorest of the poor, who depend on social grants for their livelihood, will be severely compromised” if the Constitutional Court refuse to grant the extension of CPS contract.
The Fighters also expressed that:
“…The decision to delay setting up processes within SASSA to pay for social grants was a carefully manipulated decision by the corrupt clique surrounding the leadership of the ANC to continue looting state resources.
We know for a fact that there are senior ANC leaders with close ties to CPS who stand to benefit from the extension of the contract.”
Thereafter, EFF condemned the conduct of the Department and SASSA for their incompetence and their lack of sensitivity to the impending crisis which may affect millions of people.
“We also condemn the continuing defense of this sheer incompetence by ANC members of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development.
“Government must not find it easy to defy instructions and rulings of the constitutional court because such will set a wrong precedent of lawlessness in South Africa,” added the fighters.