It seems clear from the explanations, such as they were, given by the Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini to Scopa yesterday, and from what has fallen, on oath, from the lips of Serge Belamant of CPS regarding the payment of social grants after the end of this month, that there is no agreement between Sassa and CPS in relation to the amount to be paid for CPS continuing this service for another period beyond the expiry of the existing invalid contract to do so. The invalidity of the contract is currently suspended by an Order of Court until the end of this month.
This inability to see the wood for the trees is perplexing.
The highly contested contract currently in place is under the supervision of the Constitutional Court. That court has ruled that CPS has no right to benefit from the unlawful tender award to it by Sassa. The court has ordered that if Sassa does not award a new contract (which is clearly currently the position) then:
(I) CPS must file with the court an audited statement of the expenses incurred, the income received, and the net profit earned under the completed contract;
(ii) Sassa must obtain and file with the court an independently audited verification of the audited statement provided by CPS.
If the finding that CPS has no right to benefit has any teeth, it means that CPS must disgorge all profits it has made so far. Any possible extension or “new deal” should be completed at cost and not for profit. This is what “no benefit” means.
In these circumstances it ought to be a simple matter for Sassa and CPS to agree that for the next little while (they are talking two years) CPS will continue to administer payment of grants at cost. Anything more would put Sassa and CPS in breach of the finding that the latter has no right to benefit from the unlawful tender. It is plainly due to the existence of the unlawful award of the tender that CPS is now apparently the only entity on earth that is able to continue to do the work needed to ensure that grant beneficiaries are timeously in receipt of their grants. 3
What goes around, comes around. DM
Paul Hoffman SC is Director of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa, campaigning as Accountability Now
Photo: Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini, by GCIS