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CAPE TOWN, March 14 South Africa's Finance
Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Tuesday he was "fairly
confident" social security payments will be paid on April 1
despite a service-provider dispute that has cast doubt over the
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is
scrambling to ensure that as many as 17 million people continue
to receive their money, despite concerns that retaining the
existing service provider is both unlawful and costly.
"I am fairly confident grants will be paid," Gordhan told
parliament's public accounts committee, referring to April 1.
The existing contract, run by Cash Paymaster Services, a
unit of technology company Net1 unit, has been in doubt
since South Africa's highest court ruled in 2014 that the
tender process to acquire its services was unlawful. It ordered
that a new contract to be negotiated.
SASSA officials have said the agency had opted to renew the
deal with Cash Paymaster Services despite the court order. A new
deal has not yet been made public.
The Constitutional Court, which ruled the original contract
invalid in 2014, will on Wednesday hear an application by
non-government bodies, Black Sash and Freedom Under Law, for the
court to play a supervisory role in any new contract agreed.
The Treasury has expressed misgivings about SASSA retaining
Cash Paymaster Services, a move also criticised by members of
parliament's committee on public accounts.
"We are trying to be careful not to preempt the court in
anyway, and the court will finally determine the shape and
direction of many of the issues we are looking at," Gordhan
(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by James Macharia)