Constitutional Court forced to extend CPS contract for another six months
- Lee-Anne Bruce
The Constitutional Court yesterday handed down judgment in the latest application to extend an unlawful contract to pay social grants
On Friday 23 March 2018, the Constitutional Court handed down a judgment following an application made by SASSA for the extension of six months for the CPS contract to facilitate the payment of social grants to beneficiaries who receive their grants in cash. This matter was heard on 6 March 2018, nearly a year since CALS and Black Sash approached the Constitutional Court to avoid a national crisis in the social grants system in which SASSA had provided no plans to take over the payment of social grants from the invalid CPS contract.
On 23 March 2018, the Constitutional Court allowed for the extension of the CPS contract for six months under its supervision and on the same conditions as the current contract. The Minister of Social Development and SASSA are to file reports on a monthly basis with the Constitutional Court from 30 April 2018 to 31 August 2018 on the steps taken to implement the court order. This extension of the CPS contract only relates to cash payments for about 2.8 million social grants beneficiaries who receive their social grants in cash. SASSA is also ordered to ensure the protection of the personal data of the grants beneficiaries in the process of this extension, which has been a challenge for grants beneficiaries under the CPS contract.
The Constitutional Court has further called on the former Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini as well as the acting CEO of SASSA Ms Pearl Bhengu to file written affidavits with the court by no later than 16 April 2018, to show cause as to why they should not be joined in the matter in their personal capacities and why they should not be held personally liable to pay costs of the application brought by SASSA.
It is not the first time the Constitutional Court has invited Minister Dlamini to show cause for why she should not be held personally liable for her role in the social grants crisis. She is still subject to an Inquiry handled by Judge Ngoepe which is aimed to assist the Constitutional Court to decide her personal liability, if any, for her role in the social grants in March 2017.
“The order for the former Minister and acting CEO to show cause on why they should not be joined to this matter in their personal capacities and be held personally liable to pay the costs shows the seriousness with which the court is handling the social grants crisis,” says Wandisa Phama, attorney at CALS. “Following the legacy of Minister Bathabile Dlamini in the social grants system, SASSA doesn’t seem to be moving urgently enough to restore stability in the grants payment system. It is also unclear what plans Ms Bhengu as the acting CEO is setting up in order to take over the cash payments from CPS after six months and with no proper planning in a situation like this, someone must be held accountable."
“Black Sash welcomes the measures that the Constitutional Court is putting in place to ensure the protection of personal data of grants beneficiaries,” says Lynette Maart, national director of the Black Sash Trust.
For inquiries, please contact:
From the Centre for Applied Legal Studies
- Wandisa Phama on 078 684 3140 / 011 717 8608 or at Wandisa.Phama@wits.ac.za
- Akhona Mehlo on 081 550 7997 / 011 717 8606 or at Akhona.Mehlo@wits.ac.za
From the Black Sash Trust
- Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker on 072 252 0333 / 021 686 6952 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Angie Richardson on 083 397 2512 or at email@example.com