Sassa crisis: Date set for Constitutional Court application

by James de Villiers, News24

The Constitutional Court application by NGO Black Sash, to ensure grant beneficiaries will be protected come April 1, will be heard on March 15. 

The court hearing will take place 16 days before the deadline of March 31.

In April 2014, the Constitutional Court tasked the social development department with taking over payments by March this year, after it was found that there were irregularities in the appointment of Cash Paymaster Services who distributed the grants. 

The fate of millions of social grant beneficiaries now hangs in the balance.

"Yes, the court case will take place on 15 March," Bonita Meyersfeld from the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) told News24. 

In February, CLAS, representing Black Sash in the matter, said the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has no choice but to negotiate another contract with the current service provider, CPS. 

"The Black Sash Trust, is asking the court to ensure that the continued relationship with CPS is based on terms not harmful to, exploitative of, the grant system, its beneficiaries; the personal data of beneficiaries is owned by Sassa; and such data is kept confidential and not used for marketing purposes targeting grant beneficiaries," it said in a statement. 

In February, Sassa said they would request the Constitutional Court to extend the March 31 deadline. 

Sassa later withdrew their Constitutional Court application.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa promised MPs on Wednesday that the government was addressing the Sassa matter.  

"We are going to make sure that the wheels don't come off," he said.

Originally published in News24.