Statement by the Honourable Jeff
Radebe, MP, Minister in the Presidency and Chairperson of the IMC on
Comprehensive Social Security Implementation
Joint Sitting of Standing
Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and Portfolio Committee for Social
Parliament of the Republic of
South Africa, Cape Town
21 NOVEMBER 2017
The Chairperson of SCOPA and Chairperson of Portfolio
Committee on Social Development
Honourable members of SCOPA and Portfolio Committee on
Members of the IMC
Directors General and CEOs
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Honourable members, good morning.
The structure of the Constitution for a Democratic South
Africa is founded on the provision of the three arms of the State, namely the
Judiciary, the Legislature (Parliament) and the Executive (Government). The
matter before us had reached the point where all arms of the State have been
involved and tried to resolve the impasse between SASSA and SAPO, in the
provision of Social Grants.
The role of the IMC is clearly with Political Authority to
act in guiding, directing and ensuring the implementation of the Constitutional
Court Order. This serves as our statement of commitment to the people of South
Africa and particularly the social grant recipients that government will
continue to pay social grants.
Government elected to resolve this impasse through the
Inter - Ministerial Committee which illustrated its Political Commitment at its
meeting with this Joint Committee of SCOPA and Portfolio Committee on the 8th
November 2017. We believe that today demonstrates our commitment and dedication
of the Executive to take full responsibility for the implementation of the
solution that finally resolves the impasse.
The Constitutional Court on the 17th March 2017
ordered that SASSA and the Department of Social Development (DSD) must find an
alternative service provider to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). The current
contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) for the payment of social grants
was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2014 bringing finally to a
legal battle that began in 2012.
The declaration of invalidity was suspended until the end
of the contract to enable the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to
“insource” the payment of grants. After the Black Sash matter in March 2017,
the Court further suspended the declaration of the invalidity of the CPS
contract for another year to March 2018, when it became obvious that SASSA was
not ready to pay out grants. This was to allow the Department of Social
Development and SASSA to find a permanent solution to the payment of social
grants to all beneficiaries.
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DIRECTIONS
On the 7th of November 2017, the Constitutional
Court issued Directions to SASSA to ensure proper compliance with its order
dated 17th March. It directed SASSA to:
provide information to Panel of Experts within
the required timeframes or provide the panel if unable to do so within
three working days of the request;
Honourable members, it was on the basis of these
comprehensive directions that the IMC decided to align its work to that of the
Constitutional Court reporting requirements, given the similar timeframes and
expectations of the dedicated period between now and April 2018. The IMC Chair
and the Chair of the Technical Committee met with the Panel of Experts, on the
14th November 2017, to outline our work and find convergence with
respect to the approaches to this task.
It was also our considered view that reporting requirements
must coincide with the deadlines and deliverables of the Constitutional Court.
In this way, SASSA would remain focused on the task of implementation rather
that dual, different reports to different authorities as will be shown by our
IMC TECHNICAL COMMITTEE
The IMC was given the responsibility to ensure
implementation of the order of the court in its entirety. On the 8th
November 2017, the IMC assured the Joint Sitting of SCOPA and the Portfolio
Committee on Social Development of the establishment of a dedicated team.
The dedicated team was indeed established as the Technical
Committee with a mandate to ensure the finalisation of the agreement between
the SASSA and SAPO as well as the development of an implementation plan and a
This Technical Committee has confirmed the Public Sector
led hybrid model, which includes a partnership with Home Affairs, State
Security Agency and Financial Institutions. This hybrid approach will allow a
set of public sector and private sector service providers by offering
beneficiaries maximum choice, access and convenience.
Four focus areas were established by the Technical
Committee including the Financial and ICT team which met with the Financial
Institutions, on Friday 10th November 2017, to discuss their
specific role. The Legal team is led by the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor
as well as the legal teams of SASSA and SAPO to ensure the constitutionality
and legal robustness of this process.
A lot has been achieved in the 10 days towards finding a
sustainable solution for the payment of social grants in the country. The commitment
of the IMC to yourselves and our people was to conclude an agreement between
SASSA and SAPO. This includes the implementation protocol, communication
strategy and the implementation plan.
The Implementation Protocol was concluded and signed
between the SASSA and SAPO, and by the Minister in the Presidency on behalf of
The Implementation Protocol is an overarching agreement in
terms of the Inter-Governmental Relations Framework Act of 2005. The
collaboration between SASSA and SAPO is further enabled by Section 238(b) of
the Constitutions of RSA; Section 4(2)(b) of the South African Social Security
Act of 2004 which allows SASSA to “do anything necessary for the realisation of
the Agency’s objects”, and the National Integrated ICT White Paper Policy. This
protocol allows SAPO to provide SASSA by April 1 2018, subject to cost
effectiveness, the following:
Control Account (Holding Account);
Body Production & Distribution subject to price competitiveness; and
of new beneficiaries (Instant Account Opening & Card Issuance at SASSA
Branches and Biometric authentication of beneficiaries.
This protocol forms the foundation for the signing of a
further detailed collaborative agreement between SASSA and SAPO with the
Detailed Project Plan which will be submitted to the IMC by the 6th
December 2017 to the Panel of Experts / Constitutional Court by the 8th
of December 2017.
The Meeting with the Financial Institutions and the Banking
Council of South Africa of the 10th November 2017, agreed on the
principle of establishing a special affordable account for SASSA beneficiaries
and how to enhance their role in SASSA grants. The parties agreed to further
meetings to discuss the details of the commercial accounts and the expansion of
their joint activities.
THE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
The Implementation Protocol is accompanied by an
overarching implementation plan which identifies the various critical steps
required to ensure payments of grants by the 1st of April 2018. This
plan identifies the various stages including:
What is important to note is that the IMC and the
Constitutional court reporting requirements have been aligned and therefore the
work programme synchronised.
THE COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
The IMC instructed Government Communication and Information
System (GCIS) to develop the communication strategy that will ensure
beneficiaries are kept abreast with the process leading to 1 April 2018.
This was further re-enforced by the Constitutional Court Order dated 07
A Communication Strategy has been developed to support this
work. The strategy will ensure that our people particularly the beneficiaries
are well informed and to allay their fears about the payment of Social grants
from 1st April 2018.I can confirm that the Communication Strategy
was developed by the 17th of November 2017
This strategy seeks to put in place a communication plan
that will constantly update the country in particularly the beneficiaries of
where the process is in finalising the appointment of the service provider. The
strategy will reassure all the grant beneficiaries that government has no
intention to cancel or frustrate this social security programme.
The multimedia communications approach will be utilised to
ensure effective communication. This will include community Radio, TV, Print,
Social Media, outdoor etc. Further commitment has been made by Provincial
Government through the Social Development MINMEC to disseminate information
through District, Metro and Local Municipalities to our Communities
Honourable Members, as you can see, we are well on course
to finding permanent solutions to this challenge. We understand the anxieties
that the impasse over grants has caused including fears that the cards might
expire and beneficiaries will not receive their grants. I can assure all SASSA
beneficiaries across the country that no card will expire come end of
this calendar year.
According to the General Household Survey (2016) the main
source of income of many South Africans is, social grants which bring financial
security to many families. It contributes towards improving the standard of
living of our people and providing a social safety net.
Social grants have changed the lives of over 17 million
beneficiaries, whom SASSA pay without fail every month, and will continue to do
so. No person who qualifies to receive social grants will be excluded. Changing
the service provider will not mean poor service.
Government remains committed to providing South African in
a dignified manner. Government is committed to providing all deserving
beneficiaries their grants timeously. Specific educational messages will be
developed and communicated for the benefit of social grant beneficiaries.
SASSA has facilitated the extension of its current payment
card lifespan beyond 31 December 2017. This will not affect the beneficiaries
that have opted to utilise commercial bank accounts. Government encourages
beneficiaries to call SASSA call centre for assistance or inquiries.
As government, the protection of beneficiaries from
unscrupulous deductions and exploitation of personal data remain our priority.
DSD and SASSA have committed to implementing the court order especially on the
protection of beneficiary data and the issue of deductions.
SASSA will proceed to investigate all financial activities
around the grants as directed by the court with the view to protect
beneficiaries. Going forward, SASSA intends to insource the management of
Social Assistance Regulation 26 (A), which provides for the deduction of
funeral policies authorised by beneficiaries.
Our social assistance programme has contributed in breaking
the cycle of poverty. We remain committed to providing social assistance
through grants to poor and vulnerable South
Africans. This programme is at the heart of government’s poverty
alleviation programme and central to restoring the dignity of
our people. Through it, we continue to improve the living conditions of
poor, vulnerable and underprivileged. These include the elderly South Africans,
people living with disability as well as orphaned and vulnerable children
including those living in child headed households.
Government provides social assistance to over 17 million
beneficiaries through social grants. The child support grant has grown
from 70 000 social grants in 1998 to almost 12 million social grants in
IMC remains committed to continue with this work until the
conclusion of this plan. I will like to thank the honourable members of the
Joint sitting of SCOPA and the Portfolio Committee on Social Development for
their work on this matter.
I thank you.