SASSA: Minister should stop the pretense and come clean – Lindy Wilson

DA says there is still no clarity as to who will perform crucial task of grant payment distrubtion to 17 million South Africans

DA submits 31 questions to SASSA following shambolic social grants RFI presentation

18 January 2017

The DA has submitted 31 questions to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) following a shambolic ‘Request for Information’ (RFI) presentation that took place in Pretoria last week Friday.

This presentation, which is compulsory and open to the public, was supposed to provide clarity to the banking sector on the distribution of social grants to 17 million South Africans.

The meeting lasted a shocking 35 minutes, and no follow-up questions were entertained. The information provided, moreover, failed to provide any concrete plan for the distribution of grants by the 1st April deadline, and if anything, seemed to confirm that the Department is far from ready.

After the meeting, participants were provided with a four day deadline to submit their questions. We have been told that we should expect responses no later than Tuesday, 24 January 2017.

The DA believes that this RFI presentation was nothing more than a tick-box exercise, acting as a smoke-screen to hide what should be considered a growing crisis of national importance.

We will not stand back and allow the livelihoods of 17 million people to be put at risk. The DA will therefore urgently request that the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) summon the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, to account for the farcical process that has unfolded with the SASSA takeover of grants and to answer urgent questions which remain unanswered from her department’s last appearance before SCOPA.

With only 10 weeks to go to the April 1st deadline when SASSA is due to take over the distribution of grant payments to 17 million South Africans, there is still no clarity as to who will perform this crucial task.

The DA has long held that the Minister Dlamini never intended to ensure that SASSA was ready to take over the distribution of grants to ensure that the dubious contract with the current service provider, NET1/CPS, declared invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2014, would have to be renewed.

The Minister and her department should stop the pretense, come clean and admit that her department and SASSA have already renewed their invalid multi-billion rand contract with Net1/CPS to distribute social grants.

The DA will not rest until we have absolute clarity on who will take responsibility for paying social grants to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

Issued by Lindy Wilson, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Social Development, 18 January 2017