The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) on Monday said the public protector and auditor general should monitor the process in the coming weeks as it scrambles to secure the payment of social grants from April.
But the Constitutional Court itself should only see a contract it will sign with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) 20 days after it is concluded, Sassa said.
Instead of direct oversight by the court, Sassa argued, the public protector and auditor general should monitor “the terms and implementation of the interim contract” to be signed with CPS, the later tender process during which alternatives to CPS are sought, as well as Sassa’s supposed eventual insourcing of the entire logistical exercise of the payment of grants.
Sassa on Monday missed a 4pm deadline to answer pointed questions on the grants crisis put to it by the Constitutional Court. Despite reports that it had filed those answers “electronically”, no formal submission was made as is required.
But the agency did provide its heads of argument to opposing council on Monday, laying out what amounts to a peace offering it will put forward at a hearing on Wednesday.
The Concourt, Sassa says in its heads, does not have the power to dictate how much it should pay CPS to continue grants, or for how long it may continue to use CPS.
And if the Concourt should try to do so, Sassa said, it would be in breach of the doctrine of the separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive.
Sassa said it was now of the opinion that it could legally sign an emergency contract with CPS, as long as the national treasury condones it and the contract is no longer than absolutely required to ensure the payment of social grants.
Sassa had previously agreed to a two-year deal with CPS, but that deal was thrown out late last week by a ministerial task team, according to papers before the court.