President Jacob Zuma will chair an interministerial committee set up to ensure social grants are paid to recipients on time after the government was criticised for leading the system close to failure.
The committee will consist of ministers including Pravin Gordhan, minister of finance, and Bathabile Dlamini, minister for social development, who has been criticised for her handling of the payment process, the government said in a statement.
It will ensure the government implements a court order to improve transparency and reform the system.
The system of payments of more than R150bn/year was on the brink of collapse because Dlamini and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) failed to find a new company to administer the programme after the court declared the original contract with Net1 UEPS Technologies invalid more than two years ago.
The constitutional court on Friday ordered the contract’s extension to avoid a “potential catastrophe” and slammed the government’s handling of the matter.
“Government deeply regrets the undue anxiety that resulted from the uncertainty over grant distribution,” it said in the statement. “We apologise to South Africans unreservedly.”
While Dlamini accepted a degree of responsibility for the problems, she said she was not entirely to blame, the Sunday Times reported, citing an interview with the minister.
Media, opposition parties and Sassa executives were also responsible for fanning the flames of the crisis, she said, according to the report. — (c) 2017 Bloomberg LP