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In early November 2013 hundreds (some say thousands) of pensioners descended on the Bizana municipal offices in the Eastern Cape to protest against inexplicable and possibly fraudulent deductions from grants they’d received a week earlier. They started to assemble from early morning; by early afternoon the mood was turning ugly. At about 5pm municipal officers started paying out cash to the protesters. Most of them hoped to be paid out what had been deducted from their grants the previous week. No-one expected what did happen: the protesters were paid their full grants. No-one complained.Social development minister Bathabile Dlamini may or may not know the Bizana story, but it’s impossible to imagine she and her fellow cabinet members don’t know what to expect if grant payments are disrupted. Which is why, come April 1, Net1 subsidiary Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) will still be in charge of distributions. But there’s a chance CPS will be involved long after that. The thing is, SA h...

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