SOUTH AFRICA: PRESIDENT CONFIDENT IN MINISTERS WORKING ON SOCIAL GRANT PAYMENTS

President Jacob Zuma says he has confidence in the Ministers of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini and Finance Pravin Gordhan that the payment of social grants will continue beyond March 31.

"I have confidence in the Ministers of Social Development and Finance. They are working hard with the support of their colleagues in Cabinet, to ensure that all our close to 17 million beneficiaries receive their grants," said the President.

He was speaking at the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament on Friday.

The President told those gathered that he knew they were likely to be worried about the payment of social grants from the next financial year given media reports.

The South Africa Social Security Agency's (SASSA) current contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), which currently pays social grants beneficiaries, is set to expire at the end of March.

The Constitutional Court had previously made a ruling that the contract between SASSA and Cash Paymaster Services was invalid and ordered a re-run of the tender process. But Cash Paymaster was allowed to continue to fulfil its contractual obligations so that social grants payments would not be disrupted.

Negotiations are currently underway between the Social Development Department, SASSA, the National Treasury and CPS regarding a transitional arrangement while the agency is putting in place all necessary measures to become a paymaster of social grants in South Africa.

"Social grants or social assistance are our most effective poverty alleviation programme as the democratic government.

"We are proud of the progress we have made in putting many families out of poverty and misery, especially the elderly, persons with disability as well as orphans and vulnerable children," said the President.

He said government has continued with this programme in spite of criticisms and opposition to many who say it creates dependency, "because we know the importance of ensuring that poor and the vulnerable, are able to put food on the table".

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK