Despite confusion over whether Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini filed her answers to the Constitutional Court concerning the distribution of social grants, it's been confirmed that she did so late last night.
Dlamini and the South Africa Social Security Agency had missed the 4pm deadline to answer pointed questions, including when officials knew they wouldn't be ready to take over from Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and details of their negotiations with the company.
The CPS contract was declared invalid by the court in 2014 as it was deemed that the tender had been unlawfully awarded by the Department of Social Development.
Dlamini's lawyer Tim Sukazi has confirmed that she filed her answers to the court electronically late last night and will hand in a hard copy this morning.
Sukazi says, “Sometimes when situations are out of control they are delayed.”
In terms of one of the court's questions to the minister, Sukazi says Sassa became aware that it wouldn't be able to take over the social grant payments from CPS in about April or May last year.
Meanwhile, Dlamini says she doesn't want the Constitutional Court to oversee a new social grants payment deal, adding she rather wants the Auditor-General (AG) and Public Protector to monitor a new deal.
The minister suggests, in the court papers filed late last night, that a new interim contract will be signed with CPS and that the Auditor-General and Public Protector should oversee this process.
Sassa says the Public Protector and AG should evaluate an interim contract with CPS because it is of the opinion that it can legally sign an emergency contract with the company, as long as Treasury condones it and the contract is no longer than absolutely required to ensure the payment of social grants.
Sassa doesn't want the court to be part of the new negotiations because it does not have all the pertinent information before it. However, the agency concedes that negotiations may not lead to a new contract.