Banking industry willing to assist Sassa in payment of social grants

There is no technical problem to the payment of social grants to which the banking industry could not find a solution.

The Banking Association South Africa (Basa) stated this on Tuesday in its presentation to a panel of experts appointed by the Constitutional Court in March.

In a March judgment‚ the court extended an invalid contract held by Cash Paymaster Services to pay social grants until April 1 2018.

It also ordered the minister of social development and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to file affidavits with the court‚ stating how they plan to ensure the payment of grants after April 1 2018.

The panel’s task is to assess the steps taken by the Sassa to appoint a new contractor for the payment of grants‚ or its plan to take over payments of grants itself.

Basa MD Cas Coovadia said he led a delegation of representatives of member banks in its meeting with Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini in August. It was agreed at the meeting that a joint technical team should be formed to assess the precise needs of the department and what the banks could offer.

These included pay points within a 5km radius of the recipient and the authentication of recipients using biometrics. The technical team would also indicate the infrastructure available from the banks that could be used for the payments.

Basa said there were a number of ways of addressing these issues but they needed the application of collective capacities to arrive at solutions. Basa said it would like to engage the department further in understanding what its requirements were‚ so that other banks could complement the service that Grindrod‚ a member of Basa‚ was already providing.

“This includes the issues … such as addressing the needs of rural areas which are outside the radius of the banks’ infrastructure; meeting the need for biometric compliance; reducing and controlling costs; and the question of returning unused funds.”

Basa said it was embarking on a large project to investigate ways to expand the transactional infrastructure to the informal economy.

“The aim is‚ among others‚ to make it possible for customers to make non-cash payments for their purchases in spaza shops and other small enterprises that are currently not reached.”

Meanwhile‚ an inquiry into whether Dlamini should be held personally liable for the social grants debacle will begin in January.

The Constitutional Court‚ in its judgment in March‚ called upon to Dlamini to show why she should not pay an application by the Black Sash from her own pocket. Retired judge president Bernard Ngoepe will chair the inquiry.

By: Ernest Mabuza – TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital.

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