Sassa crisis: Treasury cites conflict of interest

2017-03-03 14:56
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Cape Town - National Treasury has indicated that it is not involved in the negotiations over the looming crisis relating to the distribution of social grants to almost 17 million recipients.

In 2012, Net1 unit Cash Paymaster Services won a R10bn tender to electronically distribute social grants to millions of recipients in South Africa on behalf of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).

However, the Constitutional Court declared the tender invalid owing to irregularities in the awarding of the deal, and ruled that Sassa needed to redo the tender process.

But Sassa has not awarded another tender and it has also admitted that it won't be able to take over the task of payment distributions on its own by April 1, leaving the country's welfare system in limbo.

The growing crisis has sparked reaction from a number of parties, including National Treasury on Friday.

"The Department of Social Development had requested National Treasury’s participation. However, National Treasury advised that such (a) request cannot be favourably considered", it said in a statement on Friday.

National Treasury provided reasons why it could not get involved.

"The procurement regulatory framework delegates this responsibility to the accounting officer of the respective department."

It said Sassa and the Department of Social Services announced publicly that at some point they will approach National Treasury to regularise the process under way.

"In the light of the above, the participation of National Treasury at this stage will amount to a conflict of interest."

National Treasury said it remains committed to assist when required to find solutions within the confines of the Constitution and the procurement regulatory framework, to ensure that the deserving beneficiaries of the grants do not suffer.

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