South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will appear before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday after being summoned by the Committee last week to shed light on the Treasury’s involvement in the on-going social security grants payments debacle.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini left the Public Accounts Committee with more questions than answers after appearing before the committee in Cape Town last week and Scopa now hopes Gordhan will help fill the gaps.

Committee Chairperson Themba Godi said Monday:” We have called the Minister of Finance to clarify the National Treasury’s position on the CPS contract (to handle the payment of the grants to some 17 million beneficiaries).

“What have they observed, what have they done? How have they engaged SASSA (South Africa Social Security Agency) subsequent to the Constitutional Court ruling until now and what their current position is in relation to the on-going negotiations.”

Godi believes the Sassa matter was deliberately allowed to become a crisis and that it is now for the Minister and the agency to say just how and why this happened.

“We all want grants to be paid come the 1st of April, but what Sassa has done has been to carefully manipulate the situation to the point where we are left with no choice but to continue with CPS (whose contract ends on March 31),” Godi said.

“But in order for that to happen, it needs to follow the requisite prescripts and that’s where the National Treasury comes in. Our concern is, are we going to pay the grants legally or illegally.”

The Constitutional Court declared Sassa’s current contract with CPS unlawful in 2014. It ordered that it not be renewed by SASSA when it expires at the end of this month but SASSA is said to be in negotiations with CPS for a new contract to distribute the grants.


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