Cape Town - There was nothing corrupt about the SA Social
Security Agency's R10bn grants tender to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), Social
Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said on Wednesday.
The tender would stand despite a ruling on Tuesday by the high court in Johannesburg that the awarding of the contract was illegal and
The court, however, did not set aside the tender to provide
grants to 10 million South Africans.
Dlamini said irregularities identified in the awarding of
the tender were technical and administrative in nature.
"The court acknowledged that those irregularities did
not warrant the continued provision of the payment of social grants to be
aborted and disrupted," she said.
On allegations from the previous grant distributors, AllPay,
that the awarding of the tender was influenced by members of the bid evaluation
committee, Dlamini stressed there was no finding of any conflicts of interest
when the contract was awarded.
Dlamini said members of both the bid evaluation and
adjudicating committees had been vetted.
"Before the (tender) process even started, the State
Security Agency checked all people serving on both committees."
The minister said a review of the supply chain management
system would however be undertaken. This included the scoring system, which
AllPay challenged in the court application.
The Mail&Guardian reported on Tuesday that the Absa bank-owned company claimed its bid scores were "inexplicably" lowered
after a technical presentation so that its competitor would win the contract.
"(AllPay's) interim score was reduced from 70% to 58%
in every category, regardless of whether the relevant issue was discussed at
the meeting or not.
"Despite the fact that applicants had a financial backing
from Absa Bank Limited, which is a member of global Barclays group, points were
deducted from applicants," the judgment read.
The court criticised the agency for the composition of the
bid evaluation committee. It did not meet the requirement of having a supply
chain expert on board, which affected the fairness of the process.
Dlamini said the shortcomings would be addressed.
She said the CPS contract would most likely be the last
tender awarded, as the government intended paying grants directly to recipients
in five years.
"We have to cut out the middle man. We have to ensure
that government does it on its own. Sassa was established to pay grants."
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