The Constitutional Court is due on Wednesday to hear oral arguments from the South African Post Office on why they should be given the task of distributing social grant payments from next month.
This follows the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) not having a payment plan to date to ensure that over 17 million beneficiaries receive their grants when its contract with current service provider — Cash Paymaster Service (CPS) — comes to an end this month.
Attorneys for the Post Office wrote to the Black Sash asking for approval for an application to be admitted as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the Black Sash’s application to the court.
In its court papers‚ the Post Office acknowledged the short notice‚ but aregued that it was “necessitated by the circumstances and that is in the interest of justice for the amicus curiae to be so admitted“.
However‚ earlier this month‚ CPS chief executive Serge Belamant dismissed the state entity’s ambitions of being the service provider for grants‚ labelling it as incapable.
This contrasted with Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s comments that Sassa remained committed to working with the Post Office in the transition phase of establishing a vehicle for a payment method of social grants.
Dlamini told reporters in Pretoria two weeks ago that the Post Office would be among the first team to work with the department on the registration process of beneficiaries which will be run by Sassa.
The Concourt has invited all parties to appear in court on Wednesday to reach an agreement in response to the Black Sash’s application.
In papers submitted two weeks ago‚ the Black Sash asked the court to allow Sassa to continue its relationship with CPS so that grants can be paid on April 1‚ but with strict provisos.
Sassa was to take over the contract before this deadline but the agency has acknowledged that it will not be able to do so and will have to negotiate a new contract with CPS. — Tiso Black Star Group/Neo Goba