President: Government doing everything to ensure social grants are paid

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma says government regrets the manner in which the social grants issue has unfolded.

He said government will do all it can to ensure that the current challenges do not happen again.

The President was answering questions from Members of Parliament in the National Assembly on Thursday.

“We deeply regret the current situation as government. We will ensure that there is never again any apprehension with regards to the payments of social grants to our people,” he said.

The President said this after Cabinet set up a task team to resolve the current social grants impasse after the current contract for the payment of grants between the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) was outlawed by a 2014 court ruling.

The contract is set to expire at the end of the month and on Wednesday, the full bench of the Constitution Court sat to question legal teams from both government and CPS as a push is made to find a solution to ensure that social grants recipients get their money beyond March 31.

Government working tirelessly to ensure social grants are paid

The President said social grants are one of the most effective poverty alleviation mechanisms.

He said social grants remain one of the key achievements of the country and government in providing a social security net.

“We appreciate the fact that even political parties, who have been critical of social grants over the years, have now realised the important role of the grants in the fight against poverty.

“Government is doing everything possible to ensure that there are no interruptions to the normal process of paying social grants to beneficiaries at the end of this month.

“We want to give an assurance to the people that receive social grants that we are doing everything in our power [to ensure that the payment of social grants] is not disrupted.

“Old people, children and those that are disabled will get their money at the end of the month. Lessons will be learnt from the current unfortunate episode to ensure that there is no recurrence,” he said.

The President said he would not go into detail, as the Constitutional Court is currently seized with this matter.

“As government, we will ensure that a sustainable payment solution is found, which is compliant with our black economic empowerment and all our laws.

“The solution must also help us to ensure that fraud and corruption do not take place in the social grant payment system. Government saves about R1 billion annually in the social grant system currently through our effective anti-fraud measures in the department of Social Development, which is a great achievement,” he said.

On a question of what actions he would take against Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini over the current social grant challenges, the President said: “Actions against Ministers is the prerogative of the President.” –

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