Tammy Petersen, News24

Picture: Deaan Vivier

Picture: Deaan Vivier

Cape Town – Numsa on Friday joined the chorus calling for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to be fired in the wake of the social grants debacle.

“For the last three years, Dlamini has displayed a flagrant disregard for the livelihoods of 17 million of our most vulnerable citizens,” the National Union of Metalworkers of SA deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the Constitutional Court ordered the department to explain why it would not meet the March 31 deadline to insource social grant payments.

In 2014, the court ruled that the contract with the current social grant distributor, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), was illegal and invalid. It suspended the order of invalidity until March 31 this year to allow the department and the SA Social Security Agency to insource the administrative requirements to distribute grants.

Cloete described the current situation as a “man-made delay” caused by officials. He said it may result in the contract being enforced, to allow CPS and its holding company Net1 to continue disbursing social grants.

He said the union had always been opposed to outsourcing, as it put the poor and working class at a disadvantage.

The union said it supported Black Sash’s application to the Constitutional Court, for it to have oversight of the new agreement before it is finalised.

The matter would be heard on Wednesday.

“It is expected that during the course of this hearing we will get more details about the temporary agreement that Sassa and CPS have put in place to ensure that grant payments are not interrupted at the beginning of next month,” Cloete said.

“We hope that the application will shed light on the terms and conditions of the current CPS deal and that the court will continue to exercise its oversight role on this issue.”