JOHANNESBURG, March 17 -Non-governmental organisation Black Sash has welcomed the Constitutional Court ruling which guaranteed that welfare grants would be paid on April 1 and which gave a further order that the personal information of grant recipient be protected.
The Constitutional Court on Friday ordered that Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) should continue paying welfare grants to some 11 million South Africans for another year, on the same terms set out in its current contract that expires in two weeks.
In a majority judgement written by Judge Johan Froneman, the court said the executive had failed in its constitutional duty, and ordered that Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini furnish the court with reasons as to why she should not be held personally liable for the cost of the case.
The court placed the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) back under its supervision, some 18 months after releasing it from oversight. The agency will have to report to the court every three months on its progress in developing the capacity to take over grant payment.
Speaking outside the ConCourt after the judgement on Friday, Black Sash Johannesburg regional manager, Thandiwe Zulu, said this was a victory for the country and for democracy.
“The fact that grants will be paid is victory. We have always believed that the payment of social grants is the duty of the state protected by the Constitution,” Zulu said.
“All the issues that we were grappling with have been granted, especially in terms of protection of personal information. People give out their information for the purposes of grant payments and not anything else.”
Lulama Muso, a 72-year-old grandmother from Kagiso, west of Johannesburg, said she was relieved they would be receiving their grants on April 1.
“We are happy about today’s court ruling because we were anxious that we would not receive our monies. For now we only have hope, we will only have the assurance when we receive it,” Muso said.
Government has also welcomed the court’s ruling that CPS continues to pay social grants to eligible beneficiaries for another 12 months.
Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, expressed government’s appreciation to the apex court, saying that beneficiaries can be rest assured that social grants would be paid on April 1.
“The South African government cares for its people and today’s ruling is indicative of a progressive democratic nation. Government accepts unconditionally the judgement and directives of the Constitutional Court,” Radebe said.
“As we approach Freedom Month, the combined efforts of the arms of government – the Judiciary, the Executive and Legislative, ensured that the needs of our people are addressed and their rights as enshrined in the Constitution are protected.”
Radebe said the Ministerial Task Team would study the judgement with a view to implementing the ruling, and together with the technical team would ensure the smooth transition of grant payments following the 12-month renewal period.
– African News Agency (ANA)