Dlamini wants less oversight for Sassa

Johannesburg - Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini has asked the parliamentary speaker to rein in “onerous” requests by a committee overseeing the state welfare agency’s efforts to end a contract with Net1 UEPS Technologies to distribute the payments.

Dlamini, in a letter to parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete, said that efforts to find a new payment system were at a “sensitive” stage and the Social Security Agency (Sassa) needs to finish its work “without compromise or perceived undue influence.”

She complained that the National Assembly Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the Portfolio Committee overlapped and constantly requested appearances by Sassa officials.

“I write to express my concern and seek your intervention in the manner in which the Standing Committee on Public Accounts is increasingly overstepping the boundaries of its mandate with regard to the work of the South African Social Security Agency,” Dlamini said in a letter to Mbete on Monday.

'Onerous reporting'

“We are concerned about the onerous reporting requirements placed on Sassa officials who are called to appear almost every week.”

The welfare agency, which oversees more than R140bn in annual payments to over 17 million South Africans, has been the subject of concern since it failed to comply with a 2014 order to find a new welfare distributor.

The Constitutional Court in March allowed a 12-month extension to its contract with Net1’s Cash Paymaster Services, after earlier finding the deal was invalid and must be replaced. Net1 has also been criticized for how it allows deductions off social grants by companies offering services including loans.

The court also ordered Dlamini and Sassa to comply with various oversight processes including that they file reports on affidavits every three months setting out how they plan to ensure the successful payment of welfare grants under a different service provider by April 1. The next report is due to be filed on Sept. 15.

Net1, meanwhile, on Wednesday announced Customer Services Charters to oversee the way complaints about its services are handled.

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