October deadline for SASSA tender decision
Faced with a 60% vacancy rate and a lack of standardisation and automation across all provinces, the agency says an integrated solution would soon be available with the awarding of the tender.
Following investigations into irregular tender process, the tender was cancelled in December 2008 and a clean-up of the agency was implemented by government.
Addressing Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Social Development , SASSA CEO, Virginia Petersen admitted the agency had been plagued by problems, but noted the tender would introduce much needed change.
The objective of the tender is to shift from the current largely cash-based payment model to more electronic-based payment model relying on the existing infrastructure available in the country and developing areas where there is a lack of access to payment facilities.
The tender process is currently in the committee stage in bid process. Following reviews by the technical, bid evaluation and bid adjudication committees, the successful bidder will be announced.
“The aim of the tender is to give SASSA the ability to enrol all beneficiaries and have a complete data bank of information,” Peterson explained.
SASSA currently handles the payment of 15 million benefits and handles over 5 million transactions, including payments of grants which benefit over 10 million children.
However, faced with problems of its Improved Grant Application Progamme (IGAP) – which doesn’t provide immediate recognition of disparate software used by service providers – the agency has struggled to handle the increasing demand for payment services .
Currently, the agency has contracted service providers to provide payment solutions – CPS and All Pay – with each using different system.
However, after five years, the agency will no longer be able to rely on external service providers and will have to provide end-to-end solutions internally.
Peterson added that with the changes, new payment models would also have to be adopted.
“Sassa has relied for many years on external contractors. We are currently looking at payment models available to us,” Peterson explains.
Electronic solutions will be provided and other models used by government departments will be considered. Several options within the payment solutions would be considered – with banking as only one option.
“Automation is the key to our business process Up until now, processes have remained largely manual and automation has become a key part of our improvement plans,” said Peterson.