Sassa, SAPO grants deal derailed

SASSA says its deal with Post Office has collapsed. PICTURE: MPHO BILWANE

THE uncertainty over the payment of social grants to some 11 million beneficiaries is not over yet. This is after the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) announced yesterday that its deal to pay out grants through the SA Post Office collapsed due to Sapo’s limited capacity to deliver on the project.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said in a press briefing that after a series of meetings with Sapo on the matter, the agency came to the conclusion that Sapo would not be able to deliver on all services. It is for this reason that she said Sassa would now go back to the drawing board to issue a new tender for the payment of social grants.

“Sassa will initiate another procurement process starting on November 3 in order to secure the three services which Sapo is not capable of providing,” Dlamini said “This procurement process will be concluded on the last week of February 2018 and an award will be announced. “As part of business continuity, Sassa also facilitated the extension of its current payment card lifespan,” Dlamini said.

Dlamini’s comments came against the background of a Constitutional Court ruling that the agency take over the payment system by April 2018. Dlamini is also expected to meet Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) today to answer questions about the payment of social grants.

With Sapo now only expected to provide an integrated payment, including biometrics, Dlamini outlined several reasons why Sassa’s proposed deal with Sapo could not go through. She said that Sapo did not negotiate in good faith with Sassa on key issues. “The request for proposal also required that Sapo disclose if any of the services in the RFP would be subcontracted and to whom it would be subcontracted to. However, Sapo did not disclose this information even after being requested through correspondence sent to them,” Dlamini said.

“It should be noted that in its bid documents, contrary to its response, Sapo mentioned that a reputable supplier will provide bank cards. “This omission resulted in the bid committee being unable to assess the capacity of the Sapo subcontractor, consequently making it impossible for Sassa to award the card body production element of the bid,” she said.

Dlamini also moved to allay fears that Sassa cards would expire at the end of the year. “These cards were supposed to expire in December 2017 and beneficiaries are being informed of these developments through a nationwide communication campaign using multiple communication platforms which include face to face meetings. “I wish to stress that no card will expire come December 31,” Dlamini said.

– TNA Reporter