Report has it that the former SA Social Grant Agency head, Virginia Petersen supported the paying out of R316 million to a dubious and dishonest contractor.
According to the minute report, the SA Social Grant Agency (SASSA) supported the lies by the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) – which pays out social grants nationwide on its behalf- that it did an extra work worth R316-million.
The contractor claimed that in 2014, it enrolled more grant recipients and beneficiaries than it was contracted to do and the SASAA chief executive, Virginia Petersen is said to have accepted the claim and had paid the money.
This is according to Mail & Guardian which published details of the findings saying AmaBhungane analysed more than 7 000 pages of records to verify their justifications. These include tender documents, contracts, court files, stock exchange disclosures, Sassa data and internal correspondence.
The record proves that the contract already included the “extra” work in the bid price and that Petersen was armed with detailed agreements that she could have used to refuse CPS’s claim.
Hence, instead of joining hands to fight corruption and protect public funds, Petersen agreed to the false report, she supported the CPS
This comes at the time state government is battling with funds to resuscitate most of its economically crippled institutions like the South African Airways (SAA)
The ongoing student violent protest also comes as a result of the state being unable to support free education for all. The Higher education and Training Minister, Dr. Blade Nzimande announced an eight percent increase of students fee for the 2017 academic year.
The SA Social Grant Agency however effectively handed the national payments contract back to CPS after the Constitutional Court had, in 2013, invalidated its original award to the company.
The issue is being challenged in court by Corruption Watch as Petersen and Sassa refuse to comment on the matter.
Serge Belamant, chairperson of Net1, a CPS holding company, on the other hand, said the claims were baseless. “There is no basis for it in court or anywhere else … CPS acted in good faith at all times. We can assure you that there was absolutely no unlawful intent on the part of CPS.”
Moreover, the M&G reported further that CPS was granted a R10 billion contract under dubious circumstances, as losing bidder AllPay challenged its awarding of the tender in court. While the judge ruled that a new bidder be appointed, Sassa disqualified all bidders, ensuring that CPS kept its contract.