Serge Belamant’s company, Net1, has scored big-time from a tainted and allegedly misused contract to disburse billions of rand in state welfare grants to millions of the poor and unemployed. Government promised to fix things by taking over the distribution. But it is clearly not ready for this mammoth task and any failure to make the payments could unleash a social catastrophe. Here’s a chilling prospect: in just 10 weeks government plans to take over the distribution of R11bn of welfare grants to more than 17m South Africans every month — but it is woefully, and potentially catastrophically, unprepared. On April 1, the one in four South Africans who survive on grants, such as old-age pensioners and those dependent on child grants, put their SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) card into an ATM and find it has been disabled — unless a deal is reached with the incumbent, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). It’s a time bomb, considering that with unemployment now at 36.3%, these grants, which...

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