The Constitutional Court in session. Picture: GCIS
The Constitutional Court in session. Picture: GCIS

Net1 UEPS Technology denied the findings by the Constitutional Court’s panel of experts that it is sabotaging the South Africa Post Office’s (Sapo) efforts to take over welfare payments by the end of July.

Net1 CEO Herman Kotze responded to five allegations made by the panel against his company’s subsidiary, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), as well as Grindrod Bank.

The Constitutional Court’s panel released a report on Tuesday saying it was unlikely Sapo would meet its September 1 deadline to takeover CPS’s South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) contract.

"Sassa reported to the panel that employees or agents of CPS have, in several instances, prevented Sapo from entering the pay points to carry out the card swaps. All Sassa’s regions have reported such incidents of intimidation and attempts to prevent Sapo and Sassa employees from performing their duties at cash paypoints," the report said.

According to Kotze, there were "isolated incidents" where CPS employees had refused entry to people "claiming to be Sapo officials" who had not made prior arrangements.

"CPS has an obligation towards the beneficiaries, as well as its own staff, that tight security is maintained at all times, given the high-risk environment around pay points," Kotze said. "Given the current security environment, allowing and providing access to any unauthorised individuals into pay points, without prior notification and the necessary security clearance, would have been irresponsible and a breach of security standards and norms."

Other criticisms of Net1 raised by the panel was that it unfairly promoted its EasyPay Everywhere accounts to welfare recipients, and opened them without proper mandates from customers. According to Kotze, all banks can market their accounts to welfare recipients, and 3-million had elected to use EasyPay Everywhere "because of the compelling value proposition".

He disputed two further allegations by the panel that Net1, in partnership with Grindrod Bank, were overcharging their Sassa account holders. Kotze blamed the high fees on interbank charges, saying CPS paid about R76m a month to other banks when welfare recipients used their ATMs.