#HandsOffOurGrants in the Media

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Concern over committee’s Sassa report

"The Black Sash has warned that  the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for Comprehensive Social Security’s report back to Parliament earlier this month leaves the door wide open for new tenders and may prolong the implementation time frame beyond 31 March 2018. In addition it lacked details of how grant-holders’ confidential information would be protected."

Read More: http://www.grocotts.co.za/2017/11/27/concern-over-committees-sassa-report/

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"The expert panel appointed by the Constitutional Court has inadvertently stepped into the spat between Net1 and Black Sash over the reliability of Net1’s submission to the court detailing the profits made from its contract to distribute social grants."

Read More: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2017-11-24-courts-panel-caught-up-in-row-over-net1s-account-of-profit/

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"Today is the deadline for the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to reach a deal with the South African Post Office. SASSA has to decide if it is cost-effective for the Post Office to provide four essential services to pay grants from 1 April next year."

Read more: https://www.groundup.org.za/article/sassas-repeated-failures-make-it-impossible-have-smooth-grant-handover-warn-experts/

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"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

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"Department of Social Development and South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) officials, who have been at the centre of the social grants fiasco that puts the livelihoods of the poor at risk, could face sanctions including fines or imprisonment of up to five years"

Read More: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/sassa-officials-may-face-sanctions-for-social-grants-crisis/?utm_content=buffer23741&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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"While an Inter-ministerial Committee headed by Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency, has overseen the signing of an implementation protocol between South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office (SAPO) for the payment of social grants, Sassa and Department of Social Development officials might find themselves facing criminal action for malpractice. A panel of experts appointed by the Constitutional Court in March has also asked that the court ensure that remedial action is taken to end Sassa’s lack of proper institutional governance, capacity and oversight."

Read More: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-11-22-sassagate-reloaded-officials-should-be-probed-for-possible-malpractice-court-panel/#.WhZuIFWWa1u

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"Although a progress report and implementation plan to resolve the social grants impasse has been presented to Parliament, the Black Sash is concerned it lacks significant details. Yesterday, minister in the presidency and chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), Jeff Radebe, announced that an implementation protocol has been concluded and signed between the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the South African Post Office (SAPO)."

Read Morehttp://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=166677

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CPS has not declared its profits – AIDC

"Net1 UEPS Technologies, the parent company of Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) – which pays out social grants – was ordered by the Constitutional Court to submit a report on their profits. This followed a ruling by the Constitutional Court that they were not allowed to profit from an ‘invalid contract’. CPS had continued paying our social grants after its contract with the Department of Social Welfare had expired."

Read More: https://www.power987.co.za/news/cps-has-not-declared-its-profits-aidc/

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"A tentative deal has been struck between the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office (Sapo) on the latter taking over the payment of social grants, it emerged in parliament on Tuesday.Briefing parliament’s standing committee on public accounts and its portfolio committee on social development, chairman of the interministerial committee (IMC) tasked with social security and minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe said Sassa and Sapo signed an implementation protocol that will allow Sapo to provide services to Sassa, but 'subject to cost effectiveness'."

Read more: https://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/1735199/sassa-and-sapo-strike-provisional-deal-on-social-grants/#.WhPuJ0GOPik.twitter

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 "As if the social grants saga was not complicated enough, an expert panel reporting to the Constitutional Court has proposed a late, alternative scheme to deliver social grants.The expert panel, set up in June by the South African Social Security Agency and NGO Black Sash by order of the Constitutional Court, recently submitted its second feedback report on the pending Sassa saga."

Read more: https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/expert-panel-proposes-alternative-direct-grants-scheme-20171121

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'“Subject to cost effectiveness” the South African Post Office will be providing four essential services needed to pay social grants on 1 April 2018. This was the assurance given by Jeff Radebe, chairperson of the Interministerial Committee (IMC) on Comprehensive Social Security, which has also been tasked with overseeing the phasing out of the current service provider – Cash Paymaster Services.'

Read more: https://www.groundup.org.za/article/post-office-grant-payment-deal-be-finalised-friday/

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No plan B in social grants payments

"There is no need for a "Plan B" for the payment of social grants next year because the government's new hybrid system will deliver as promised‚ Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe has assured lawmakers.MPs on Tuesday welcomed the progress in the social grants payment crisis and the involvement of the Post Office‚ but grilled the inter-ministerial committee (IMC)‚ chaired by Radebe‚ on cost effectiveness as well as contingency plans."

Read More: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2017-11-21-no-plan-b-in-social-grants-payments/

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"The deadline agreement for the South African Post Office (SAPO) to assist in the distribution of social grants had not been met by November 17. This follows an announcement more than a month ago by Treasury that the South African Post Office (Sapo) will take over grant payments effective November 10. This agreement follows an arduous call for the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to find an alternate payments provider, following the expiry of their previous contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS)."

Read More: https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/sapo-grants-deal-with-sassa-is-not-yet-official-12082407

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"South Africa’s National Treasury should investigate the conduct of officials at the welfare agency and the Social Development department for possible prosecution, according to a panel appointed by the Constitutional Court. It should probe all actions by the South Africa Social Security Agency since 2016 to issue contracts to service providers and all documents should be handed over without delay, the group which also includes the country’s auditor-general, said in court documents dated Nov. 16."

Read More: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-20/s-africa-panel-asks-treasury-to-probe-conduct-of-welfare-agency

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"The Constitutional Court has ordered the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to provide a progress plan on phasing out the contract of social grants distributor Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to avert a crisis that could place the livelihoods of 17-million vulnerable South Africans at risk."

Read More: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/constitutional-court-ups-the-ante-on-sassas-social-grants-payment-plan/?utm_content=buffer2e7ab&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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"With only four months to go before a decision is made on a future social grant payment system and service provider, the Constitutional Court has ordered the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to provide a detailed progress plan on takeover arrangements by December 8. The court also wants the plan to specify roles and responsibilities, precise timelines and risk mitigation measures, and a contingency plan if a seamless transition for payments to 17 million beneficiaries is not realistic."

Read More: https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/concourt-orders-sassa-to-reveal-all-information-plans-11969971

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Treasury review slams Sassa

"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

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"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

Tags: #HandsOffOurGrants

"Despite the intervention of the National Treasury in an impasse between the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office (Sapo), a credible deal between both parties for the payment of social grants is yet to be announced.

Instead, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on social security – now led by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe – has been roped in to lead the process of phasing out the social grant payment contract of incumbent Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) in the next five months."

https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/jeff-radebe-post-office-and-sassa-deal-is-still-on-the-cards/

Tags: #HandsOffOurGrants

"The Constitutional Court's decision extending the suspension of invalidity on the contract between the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) ends on 31 March 2018. For SASSA to meet its legal obligations, it needs an alternative grant payment system and, in the interim, a new service provider. However, since the Constitutional Court judgment on 17 March 2017, there has been no progress.- So said Black Sash National Director Lynette Maart on Wednesday."

Read more: http://www.capetalk.co.za/articles/279877/how-to-fix-the-utterly-vital-social-grant-system-according-to-black-sash

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"The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has been instructed to place its procurementprocess to find another payments distributor on ice, pending a National Treasury review aimed at resolving the social grants impasse. Yesterday, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) and the Portfolio Committee on Social Development in Parliament held a special meeting to determine a way forward after SASSA and the South African Post Office (SAPO) failed to find a working solution on the issue of social grant payments."

Read More: http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=166122

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"The South African Post Office (Sapo) says it may be a challenge to meet next year’s deadline to take over social grant payments, but there is a way that it can reach an agreement with the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa).There are 99 days before the contract of service supplier CPS comes to an end. The Constitutional Court has told Sassa to come up with a new provider to take over the payment system."

Read More: http://ewn.co.za/2017/11/02/sapo-meeting-sassa-payments-deadline-may-be-a-challenge?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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Sassa rejects Post Office's counter offer

"Talks between social grants agency South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office (SAPO) over a deal to distribute social grants have collapsed. Sources close to the deal said Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini was likely to announce that Sassa should find a new service provider for the payment of grants to more than 17 million beneficiaries through an open tender process."

Read more: https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/sassa-rejects-post-offices-counter-offer-20171027

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"Although the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has given the South African Post Office (Sapo) an offer to distribute social grants, a scathing report by a panel of experts and the Auditor-General has warned that incumbent Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) might still be the paymaster beyond April 2018."

Read More: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/no-end-in-sight-to-cpssassa-contract-expert-panel-warns/

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"The social grants payment system could once again be at risk in the new year. An independent panel that includes Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu and former Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus has delivered a damning first progress report to the Constitutional Court slamming the Social Security Agency for lacking an implementation plan for the takeover of grant payments."

Read More: http://ewn.co.za/2017/10/18/sassa-unlikely-to-meet-grant-payments-takeover-deadline-says-panel

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"SASSA (South African Social Security Agency) has urged social grant beneficiaries “not to panic” about the 31 December expiry date on their SASSA cards. The cards would remain active beyond that date, SASSA said in a statement on Monday. But the Black Sash has warned that this will mean problematic deductions from social grants will continue."

Read more: https://www.groundup.org.za/article/black-sash-raises-red-flag-over-future-sassa-accounts/

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"On 20 July 2017, Black Sash appealed against a judgment that permits Net1 to continue to allow deductions from the social grants it administers. The appeal has been lodged with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) after Justice Van der Westhuizen, who decided the initial application, denied leave to appeal in the Pretoria High Court."

Read more: https://www.groundup.org.za/article/black-sash-appeals-social-grants-deduction-case/

 

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Black Sash seeks appeal in Net1 case

"The Black Sash Trust, a civil rights group, has asked South Africa’s supreme court of appeal to let it seek to overturn a high court ruling allowing Net1 UEPS Technologies to continue making deductions from welfare grants distributed on the government’s behalf. The high court, which made its ruling in May, has refused Black Sash the right to appeal."

Read more: https://techcentral.co.za/black-sash-seeks-appeal-net1-case/75854/

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"Human rights Group Black Sash says it’s hopeful the inquiry into the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) social grants debacle will give South Africans insight into what’s happening at the Social Security Agency. The court has tasked Ngoepe with determining whether the minister should pay the legal costs related to the matter. The likes of Black Sash and Freedom Under Law had raised concerns about government’s handling of a controversial payments contract with Cash Paymaster Services, and justices ruled the agreement could stand for a period of only 12 months."

Read more: http://ewn.co.za/2017/08/03/black-sash-inquiry-will-give-sa-insight-into-what-s-happening-at-sassa

 

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"Civil rights group The Black Sash fears that the ousting of Thokozani Magwaza as South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) CEO might impact the agency’s ability to take over social grant payments or outsource the responsibility to another service provider beyond the incumbent Cash Paymaster Services (CPS)."

Read more: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/magwazas-ousting-as-sassa-ceo-spooks-rights-group-trade-union/

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Outspoken CEO leaves SASSA

"The services of Thokozani Magwaza as CEO of the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) have been terminated after less than a year in the position. A statement from the Department of Social Development yesterday announced Magwaza's resignation and says a "mutual agreement" was reached between minister Bathabile Dlamini and the SASSA CEO to terminate his contract."

Read more: http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=163430%3AOutspoken-CEO-leaves-SASSA&catid=160

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"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/

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"The wait begins for an inquiry into the roles and responsibilities of Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini after parties delegated to appoint an individual to head the investigation file their recommendations to the Constitutional Court on Monday. The Black Sash Trust approached the court in March after the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) acknowledged it would not be able to pay millions of grants from April 1‚ despite promising the court in November 2015 it would do so."

Read more: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2017-07-17-we-are-at-the-mercy-of-the-concourt-says-black-sash/

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"The Black Sash Trust said it was disappointed by the North Gauteng High Court’s decision to refuse the application for leave to appeal an earlier ruling which allowed Net1 to deduct money from the accounts of social grant beneficiaries. In May, the court ruled against the order by the Department of Social Development and South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) to stop Net1 from allowing deductions from accounts of grant beneficiaries."

Read more: https://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/sassa-denied-leave-to-appeal-ruling-on-social-grant-deductions-9890500

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"Indigent people continue to have money taken off their grants to repay loans they easily acquire, as court cases rage on to try to make sure their payouts achieve their purpose - to alleviate poverty. On Tuesday, the Black Sash will apply to appeal against a North Gauteng High Court ruling last month that allowed social grant payment provider Net1 to continue deducting money from beneficiaries’ accounts."

Read more: https://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/sas-grant-beneficiaries-in-spiral-of-debt-9828691?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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"The Constitutional Court on Thursday declined to hold social grants minister Bathabile Dlamini personally liable for legal costs in the social grants fiasco – for now. Instead it ordered a legal inquisition of sorts centred on whether she had misled the court, a process that could still force her to pay legal costs out of her own pocket."

Read more: https://mg.co.za/article/2017-06-15-concourt-asks-for-a-bad-faith-enquiry-on-dlamini-and-social-grants/

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Black Sash and Net1 in war of words

"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/

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