South Africa's SAPO Wants Grants Deal to Include Cards, Banking

The South African Post Office is prepared to take over the payment of more than 150 billion rand ($10.6 billion) of social grants only if it includes production of cards used by more than 17 million recipients as well as banking services, its Chief Executive Officer said.

SAPO is prepared to take over payments “if, and only if, SAPO is also awarded the card body production and distribution and banking services as well," CEO Mark Barnes told lawmakers in Cape Town Tuesday. Other services include South African Social Security Agency payment-platform development, beneficiary biometric enrollment and proof of life.

On Monday, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said the government will start another procurement process for the distribution of social grants after deciding that the post office can only provide one of the four services needed. The welfare agency, which oversees payment of grants, has been the subject of concern since it failed to comply with a 2014 order to find a new welfare distributor.

The post office would not oppose a three-month extension to Net1 UEPS Technologies Inc. unit Cash Paymaster Services’ contract as a risk-mitigation measure, Barnes said. The parliamentary committee instructed Sassa, National Treasury and SAPO officials to meet Wednesday and report back on their progress.

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