JOHANNESBURG, April 3 South Africa's welfare
department is making benefit payments to 17 million people
across the country after a court battle involving the service
provider averted a fiasco that had put their entitlements at
risk, officials said on Monday.
The Constitutional Court last month ordered the government
to pay social grants on April 1 via its current service
provider, and sharply censured Social Development Minister
Bathabile Dlamini, calling her inaction in resolving the crisis
The controversy over the grants stems from the social
welfare department failing to take responsibility for social
service payments or to find a new provider after the
Constitutional Court ruled in 2014 that the tender won by Cash
Paymaster Services (CPS), a unit of technology company Net1
, was illegal.
"We want to say again we are very sorry about what happened
... they are happy that their money is here," Dlamini said on
Monday, after touring various pay points around the country to
supervise the payments.
The funding is a lifeline for the country's most vulnerable
and includes more than 11 million child support grants.
Each month long queues form at pay points across the country
as people wait for money that is often the difference between
going to bed hungry or not.
More widely, South African President Jacob Zuma is facing a
confrontation with senior members of the ruling African National
Congress after the currency plunged following the dismissal of
Pravin Gordhan as finance minister on Friday.
(Reporting by Olwethu Boso; Editing by James Macharia and