The social Development minister Bathabile Dlamini  who notified Parliament that an extension of social security deal is necessary if the beneficiaries are to continue to have their social benefits, has  come under serious opposition by the minister of finance Pravin Gordhan.

Gordhan informed Dlamini that her plan to extend the contract with a unit of  Net 1 UEPS Technologies would be “unlawful”

Dlamini had told parliament that the only viable option to ensure that 17.2 million people keep getting their payments in April in the R139.5bn a year programme would be to extend the Net 1 contract that expires at the end of March. That contract has been declared invalid by the country’s Constitutional Court because of concerns over how it was awarded and extending it would need the court to overturn its 2013 decision.

The Minister of Finance said “Sassa’s proposed interim agreement with Cash Paymaster Services will not be lawful,”  Gordhan noted in a letter to Dlamini dated February 1. “The options proposed by the Sassa team cannot be supported unless the Constitutional Court were to approve such an option.” Cash Paymaster is owned by Net 1.

The financial guru further explained that should Sassa press ahead with its plan, it would open up government to “legal challenges” and pointed out that Sassa had asked that Treasury approval for its proposal to be waived.