NATIONAL NEWS - Bhengu says government currently provides social assistance to over 17 million poor South Africans through social grants, majority being children.
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“We remain committed to providing social assistance through grants to poor and vulnerable South Africans,” Bhengu said.
This affirmation that grants will be paid, comes a year after the constitutional court deliberated on a contract that was deemed invalid and ruled to suspend the invalidity on 31 march 2018.
Bhengu added that the service agreement signed between Sassa and the South African Post Office (SAPO), in December 2017, enabled SAPO to partner with Sassa in the payment of social grants and they are ready to make payments.
However, Sassa have brought a limited application to the Constitutional Court with the intention of asking the court to suspend the invalidity declaration of its contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) as they still require assistance in paying 2.8 million beneficiaries who are paid in cash.
Bhengu added that if the Constitutional Court does not allow for a further extension of the contract with CPS, the agency had a contingency plan in place involving the SA Reserve Bank (SARB). They have also implemented pilot projects since January, 2018, whereby direct payments to beneficiaries have been made via commercial banks.
Beneficiaries using the old Sassa card will be able to use it until 30 September 2018.
“We will soon introduce the new Sassa cards via the Post Office and beneficiaries will be informed about the process to follow. The new card will be introduced over a period from April to 30 September 2018, when it is expected that the current Sassa card will no longer be in circulation.
Social grant beneficiaries can currently choose between three methods of payment; cash, merchant or supermarkets and through personal bank accounts.
Bhengu concluded by stating that Sassa is committed to ensuring that the right social grant is paid to the right person at the right time.