Pretoria – The Presidency says it is not aware of meetings between President Jacob Zuma’s legal advisor and the managers of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) on the payment of social grants.
The Sunday Time newspaper claims Michael Hulley played a key role in ensuring that Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) would keep the contract to deliver more than 17 million social grants to recipients.
The contract with CPS expires on 31 March 2017, but the agency is in talks with CPS.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has assured all grant beneficiaries that they will receive their social grant money on 1 April 2017.
“The Presidency has noted a report in today’s Sunday Times newspaper stating that President Jacob Zuma’s legal advisor, Mr Michael Hulley participated in what the paper calls secret meetings with top managers of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) on the payment of social grants.
“The Presidency is not aware of the said meetings,” said the Presidency in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Development said in a separate statement it did not refuse to reply to the Sunday Times’ questions.
“The department sent to the weekly newspaper an extensive reply on the questions raised. The Sunday Times [was] even encouraged to use the response in its entirety,” said the department.
In its response to the newspaper, the department said it’s position is that if people believe there was something fundamentally wrong with the process at SASSA, “they should be bold to speak on the record and approach law enforcement agencies. At least give you some evidence that these meetings happened. Even a copy of the presentation”.
Regarding the interview of the SASSA Chief Executive Officer, Thokozani Magwaza, published in the City Press, the department said in another statement that the Minister will not engage Magwaza in the media because the Constitution Court will deal with the issues raised.
Magwaza is expected to file his affidavit to the Constitutional Court as part of questions for clarity as outlined in Section One of the Court’s reply to the department and SASSA.
The Court has requested more information on the supplementary report from the SASSA regarding the payment of social grants.
SASSA has until Monday, 12 March, to answer questions regarding the payment of grants.
The Constitutional Court had previously made a ruling that the contract between SASSA and CPS was invalid and ordered a rerun of the tender process. However, CPS was allowed to continue to fulfil its contractual obligations so that social grants payments would not be disrupted.