In The News South Africa

Gordhan gives assurances on SASSA grants

PARLIAMENT, March 14 (ANA) – Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday, signalled that government may the courts for leeway to ink a deal to ensure welfare grants are paid in coming months but flagged ethical problems with the companies on which the country is being forced to rely.

We want to as soon as possible remove the sense of uncertainty and crisis and give the assurance to the 17 million beneficiaries of the social grant system that they will receive their social grants on the first of April,” Gordhan said.

“Our objective is to ensure that our higher duty to the South African public is executed in the right kind of way, as far as possible within the current framework of the law and where that framework might be constraining we then we must get the courts to agree with us that as a so-called interim or temporary measure certain things are done to ensure that they payment happens.”

He added: “So a combination of the political system and the court system, I think, within next five six days, will give us absolute clarity about the payment.”

Earlier, Gordhan said a post mortem of how the crisis developed could wait, along with the apportioning of political blame.

He stressed that once a mandate for fresh talks was given, negotiators should seek to limit a new contract with CPS to the shortest possible time and consider all alternative payment systems, including using banks and the Post Office.

Both those options were ruled out by Dlamini when she appeared before the committee last week. The minister accused the Post Office of trying to shoulder in on talks with CPS, and banks of withholding hundreds of millions of rands in interest from her department.

Gordhan noted that National Treasury became aware on Monday that Grindrod Bank, which owns teller machines and distributes cards used by millions of grant beneficiaries, might be earning interest off the grant budget of R11 billion as it transits through its account every month.

“We are merely asking the question if money is sitting in an account for five days, it should be accruing interest. If it is where that does that interest go? We need to establish that fact.”

Gordhan also warned that CPS did not have the right to share or sell the details of millions of grant beneficiaries.

 

– African News Agency (ANA)

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