"The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has ordered Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to pay back R316m, with interest, to the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). Sassa paid CPS in 2014 after the company claimed it had enrolled more grant recipients and beneficiaries than it had been contracted to provides services for. AmaBhugane previously reported that Sassa and then-chief executive officer Virginia Petersen, had accepted the CPS claim at face value and paid the money."

Read more; https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/cps-ordered-to-pay-back-r316m-to-sassa-20180323

"South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) does not have alternative plans if the court refuses to extend the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract by another six months, the Constitutional Court heard on Tuesday. 

"There will be chaos," Nazeer Cassim, the advocate for Sassa, argued before a full Bench.  

Justice Johan Froneman responded: "So you come to us, basically giving this court no choice."

Cassim conceded that there were no plans in place. "

Read more: https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/sassa-there-will-be-chaos-if-cps-contract-is-not-extended-court-hears-20180306

"A deal to ensure that poor South Africans receive their social grants is set to be signed by Friday.This news comes amid tense wrangling this week between the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the SA Post Office (Sapo), forcing Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe to intervene. Before Radebe told Parliament on Wednesday that the deal would be signed, Treasury accused Sassa of deliberately sabotaging Sapo to prevent it from securing the controversial multibillion-rand contract to distribute government grants."

Read More: https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/treasury-review-slams-sassa-20171111

"The inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on social security announced in Parliament that an overarching implementation protocol between the South African Post Office (SAPO) and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) was agreed to over the last 10 days. The protocol finally gives the Post Office the chance to prove its capacity in providing core banking functions and producing new Sassa cards, previously denied to it by Sassa's bid."

Read more: http://www.702.co.za/articles/281770/there-s-still-opportunity-for-interference-in-sassa-sapo-agreement-black-sash

"Equal Education says it’s pleased that the investment firm Allan Gray has found, through its own research, that Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) was making deductions from social grantsillegally. Allan Gray owns 16% of CPS through its holding company Net-One. Equal Education and the Black Sash have said repeatedly that CPS was making these deductions despite the company repeatedly denying the claims."

Read More: http://ewn.co.za/2017/04/20/allan-gray-confirms-illegal-social-grant-deductions

"It has taken the intervention of the Constitutional Court, a panel of experts, an inter-ministerial committee, treasury, opposition parties, civil society, parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts, as well as the portfolio committee on social development, to force Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini and senior SASSA officials to fulfill their constitutional duty of taking the payment of social grants to 17 million South Africans in-house by March next year. Dlamini and SASSA officials have been exposed as willfully derelict and devious in their attempts at derailing the process. The upside is that parliamentary oversight has played a crucial role in reining in the minister and SASSA officials."

Read More: ttps://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-11-10-analysis-sassagate-reloaded-reining-in-a-rogue-minister-and-her-minions/#.WjFkvFWWa1u

"Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini was an embarrassingly poor witness who lied in her testimony, the SA Social Development Agency (Sassa) inquiry heard on Monday. Submitting his closing arguments, Geoff Budlender, for NGO Black Sash, said Dlamini lied about the role of the expensive work streams because she wanted to conceal her responsibility for her failures and, ultimately, the social grants crisis that arose two years ago. He added that Dlamini knew all along that the April 2017 deadline set by the Constitutional Court would not be met."

Read more: https://www.enca.com/south-africa/bathabile-dlamini-lied-under-oath-sassa-inquiry-told

"NGO Black Sash has pleaded with the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) responsible for handling the social grants crisis to release more details about banking requirements under the new scheme. The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) released its fourth report to the Constitutional Court on January 8 on the proposed hybrid model to pay grants from April. This after the IMC announced in December that the South African Post Office (SAPO) would handle core functions of the new system, while commercial banks would play an increased role."

Read More: https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/beneficiaries-need-details-about-new-sassa-process-accounts-black-sash-20180129

In April 2014, the Constitutional Court ordered SASSA to initiate a new tender process within 30 days following the order of invalidity of the existing contract between Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) for the national payment of social grants (see our press release dated April 2014, http://www.blacksash.org.za/index.php/media-and-publications/media-statements/1524-black-sash-press-release-the-constitutional-court-judgement-allpay-and-others-vs-sassa-cash-paymaster-services, for full details).

On Friday 13 March 2015, the Constitutional Court agreed to admit the Black Sash as the third Amicus Curiae in the AllPay 2 case.
The specifications for the new SASSA request for proposals (RFP), issued in October 2014, make provision for ring fenced bank accounts to protect beneficiaries' accounts from unlawful and fraudulent deductions. Furthermore, service providers are also prohibited from marketing their services and products and abusing the confidential information of beneficiaries.

The Black Sash, representing the interests of social grant beneficiaries, has a direct and substantial interest in ensuring that the new tender process is finalised as swiftly as possible and that the new, ring-fenced bank accounts are put in place.
Since SASSA issued the new specifications, CPS has, through the Constitutional Court, questioned the RPF in a bid to set it aside, causing further delay in the implementation of the new tender process. It would appear that CPS is delaying the process, further extending their existing invalid contract, ending February 2017.

Meanwhile, unlawful and fraudulent deductions from beneficiary bank accounts continue unabated. A defective recourse system makes grant beneficiaries seeking refund, pay extra costs for transport and airtime, often without securing relief. Any delay in the finalisation of the new tender process continues to prejudice grant beneficiaries.

The Black Sash is seeking three forms of relief from the Constitutional Court:
• A declaration that the RFP (as it exists or with specified amendments) is valid;
• A declaration preventing parties from approaching the Constitutional Court for further relief unless it is necessary to protect the interests of beneficiaries; and
• A timeline for the finalisation of the new tender.

For more information:
National Advocacy Manager Elroy Paulus on 082 748 5621 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
National Director Lynette Maart on 083 628 3425 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MEDIA RELEASE

25 July 2017

On Thursday 20 July 2017, the Black Sash Trust and six social grant beneficiaries, represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, launched an application for leave to appeal with the Supreme Court of Appeal (under case number 752/2017).  They seek to appeal an earlier decision by the Gauteng Division of High Court, Pretoria. The decision, handed down on 9 May 2017, concerned an application brought by Net1 and some of its subsidiary companies Money Line, Manje Mobile, and SmartLife against the Minister of Social Development and SASSA. The application sought to challenge the interpretation of new Regulations issued by the Minister aimed at limiting deductions from social grants.

Black Sash and the grant beneficiaries sought to intervene in the application to ensure beneficiaries are protected from abuse and exploitation and to maintain the integrity of the social assistance system. We asked the High Court, if it found in favour of Net1 on their interpretation of the Regulations, to order that the Minister issue new Regulations which do protect grant beneficiaries. The High Court granted the application in favour of Net1 and dismissed the application by the Black Sash and social grant beneficiaries.

SASSA, the Minister of Social Development and Black Sash later sought leave to appeal this judgment believing that the Court’s decision left grant beneficiaries vulnerable. The leave to appeal application was heard on 20 June 2017 and was refused on the same day. In refusing the application, the Court found that there is no distinction between the social grant beneficiaries’ accounts held at Grindrod Bank and any other private bank account held at another bank; and that the Regulations do not operate to restrict beneficiaries in the operation of their bank account.

Following the decision refusing Black Sash and the social grant beneficiaries application to intervene on 9 May 2017 and the refusal of leave to appeal on 20 June 2017, Black Sash and social grant beneficiaries then approached the Supreme Court of Appeal on 20 July 2017.  Black Sash and the social grant beneficiaries submit in their petition to the SCA that their intervention application in the High Court was relevant and flowed directly from the decision that the High Court ultimately made in favour of Net1.  The other parties now have a period of one month to file answering affidavits.

“We remain steadfast in ensuring that social grant beneficiaries are protected and that their meagre means of livelihood is not depleted by deductions” says Lynette Maart, National Director of the Black Sash Trust. “We hope that the Supreme Court of Appeal will decide to hear our application for leave to appeal and grant the relief we request.”  Nomonde Nyembe, an attorney at CALS, says that “social grants are the means by which the constitutional right of access to social assistance is realised; any dimunition thereof must be subjected to constitutional scrutiny. ”

Papers filed:

For enquiries, please contact:

Centre for Applied Legal Studies

Bonita Meyersfeld
 
Director, Centre for Applied Legal Studies

076 755 0257 / 011 717 86

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nomonde Nyembe
 
Attorney, Centre for Applied Legal Studies

011 717 8606

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Black Sash Trust

Evashnee Naidu

KZN Regional Manager, Black Sash

084 430 6133 / 031 301 9215

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"On 5 June, nearly 500 mostly old age grant beneficiaries from Ceres, Tulbagh, Op die Berg and surrounding areas, filled the Bella Vista community hall in Ceres. David Polkinghorne, managing director of Grindrod Bank, and representatives from Net1 and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), had set up workstations “to deal with beneficiary queries”. By the end of the meeting, over 200 EasyPay Everywhere (EPE or “green” card) accounts were closed by their holders. On 7 June, Net1 – parent company to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), which pays South Africa’s social grants – accused the Black Sash of “enticing” grant beneficiaries into attending the Ceres meeting."

Read more: https://www.groundup.org.za/article/black-sash-and-net1-war-words/

"The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), on behalf of the Black Sash, will be in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday to “ensure there is a plan in place for the uninterrupted payment of social grants” next month. The contract between the current service provider, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), which began in 2012, was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2014."

Read more: https://www.groundup.org.za/article/black-sash-back-constitutional-court-over-social-grants/

"The High Court in Pretoria has found that deductions can be made from the bank accounts of social grant beneficiaries held with Grindrod. Net1 UEPS Technologies, the holding company for Cash Paymaster Services – which administers the payment of social grants – approached the court for a declaratory order regarding the government’s decision to limit direct deductions from beneficiaries’ accounts."

Read more: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-radio/net1-subsidiaries-right-to-make-deductions-affirmed/

"The Black Sash is concerned that the departure of South African Security Agency (Sassa) CEO Thokozani Magwaza might affect the agency’s ability to fulfil the mandate set by the Constitutional Court. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), meanwhile, has castigated Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini over her role in the social grants crisis, saying it expects 'the ANC to demand answers from its minister'."

Read more: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2017-07-18-black-sash-fears-for-sassas-constitutional-mandate-after-magwazas-departure/