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.
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