The Constitutional Court on Friday ordered that Cash Paymaster Services should continue paying welfare grants to some 11 million South Africans for another year, on the same terms set out in its current contract that expires in two weeks.

In a majority judgment written by Judge Johan Froneman, the court said it was acting to safeguard a constitutional right and avert “a catastrophe”.

Froneman said it was compelled to do so, because the executive had failed in its constitutional duty, and ordered that Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini furnish the court with reasons as to why she should not be held personally liable for the cost of the case.

He commented that it was of a supreme irony that the corporate world, in the shape of CPS, was needed to honour social rights because government had neglected its responsibilities.

The Constitutional Court placed the South African Social Security Agency back under its supervision, some 18 months after releasing it from oversight. The agency will have to report to the court every three months on its progress in developing the capacity to take over grant payment.

CPS had submitted an affidavit in which it demanded an increase of 6.6 percent in its fees to continue to pay grants.

But Froneman said the company could only direct itself to National Treasury if it wanted to amend its fees. If this resulted in any change to its terms, it would have to come back to the court for approval.

African News Agency

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