Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

In a setback to the South African Post Office’s hopes for a major role in the distribution of social grants, the Constitutional Court has directed its expert panel to meet the Reserve Bank and the Treasury to study the use of the National Payment System for the payment of social grants. The court issued a directive on Wednesday in a process that appears designed to keep a tight rein on the minister of social development and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). The court wants reasons why the grant distribution alternatives outlined by the panel in its second report submitted on November 16 are not feasible. The key aspect of the panel’s alternatives is a system in which most grants will be paid through ATMs linked to the National Payment System. If Sassa and the minister accept it is feasible, they must report to the court by January 15 on how they intend to set up a system of direct payments into beneficiary bank accounts from Sassa’s corporate bank account that could ...

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