Extension of CPS contract to allow smooth transition

Friday, February 9, 2018

Government Communication and Information System Acting Director-General Phumla Williams says the request for an extension of Cash Paymasters Services (CPS) contract is to ensure that there are no glitches during the process of the phasing in of a new service provider. 

Williams was speaking during an interview with SAFM on Thursday afternoon, following an affidavit filed by the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) to the Constitutional Court, requesting an extension of the suspension of invalidity of the CPS contract.

In a statement, SASSA said the extension was to allow it to phase out CPS when its contract ends at the end of March. The agency said a new service provider can only be appointed after the CPS contract ends.

“When people talk about an extension it’s actually not true. it's a process of the phasing in and phasing out process precisely for the purposes of ensuring that there are no glitches when there is a transition from the 31st March. We don’t want South Africans who depend on this grant finding themselves affected by the glitches of the transition.

“Where we are seated is that, the project plan of overseeing this transition is in action from the time that the instruction was given. We do not see this application at the Constitutional Court as an extension of the current contract. It cannot be because we are moving the beneficiaries to the post office,” Williams said.

Bank accounts

William said the sampling where some of the beneficiaries who have bank accounts and want to be paid through their accounts have started, with beneficiaries already been paid through their bank accounts in January.

“We did the testing in January, which was successful. The Minister of Social Development has also indicated that in February we did a bigger sampling of moving some of the beneficiaries to their bank accounts. So where we are sitting, a big chunk of the beneficiaries will be paid through their bank of choice,” Williams said.

Post offices

She also noted that a lot of work has been done in mapping the post offices across the country, with the view that they migrate those who don’t have bank accounts, and would prefer to be paid through the post office.

“So, all those things should give South Africans comfort that what we are requesting the Constitutional Court to do is not to renew or extend the current contract because it is not a current contract that is being extended, it is a period that allows us that there should never be anyone who is disadvantaged come 1st April.

“We will pay those that we’ve already tested through the banks, [and] we will pay those that are moving to the post office, it is just a phase,” she added.

The handover

According to Williams, the CPS is very clear that its contract ends on 31 March 2018, and they have agreed to work with government in doing the handover. 

“What seems to be happening is the handover of what is remaining within the CPS, and we are also doing our bit to make sure that the post office take-over and also SASSA will be doing the new entrants.”

Over 2 million beneficiaries paid

Meanwhile, SASSA said it has successfully paid over 2 million beneficiaries who receive their grants from commercial banks.

“This was done today through our Paymaster General account which was opened. This move is a giant step taken towards SASSA ultimately paying all beneficiaries using any type of electronic payment method.

“It is part of fully complying with orders of the Constitutional Court and phasing out CPS, the current service provider,” SASSA said.

Direct transfers

As from 1 March 2018, SASSA will do direct transfers to about 5.7 million beneficiaries who use the SASSA card. This will bring about 80% of payment transactions under the control of SASSA by the end of March 2018.

By April 2018, the only beneficiaries whose payments won't be falling under SASSA control will be the ones paid in cash at SASSA pay points.

The South African Post Office has already gone to the market for the cash payment category by way of advertising a tender. This represents just under 3 million beneficiaries.

“Till recently, the legislated life insurance premium deductions of 700 000 beneficiary accounts were deducted through a third party contractor. At the moment SASSA has already taken over this function and is paying such premiums directly on a monthly basis. This will also result in huge savings for government,” SASSA said.  – SAnews.gov.za