22 March 2023 | 12:02 AM

The R10bn social grants tender that kept on giving

Key Takeaways

In 2012, the South African government outsourced the national distribution of social grants to Cash Paymaster Services.

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The company came with baggage, including numerous bribery allegations over the previous 10 years. These were denied.

In 2014, the Constitutional Court invalidated the 2012 tender because of a series of irregular acts by South African Social Grants Agency officials, which had the effect of sweeping in Cash Paymaster.

The judges noted: “An unfair process may betoken a deliberately skewed process”.

But the court ultimately allowed Cash Paymaster to keep its invalid contract to ensure the grant payments were not interrupted.

Throughout, officials have acted questionably to repeatedly benefit one party: Cash Paymaster.

AmaBhungane has tracked Sassa’s maladministration and Cash Paymaster’s high political links.


7 February 2012 R10bn grant tender sparks court battle

24 February 2012 ‘Name your price’ bribe offer for R7-billion tender

2 March 2012 Open chequebook bribe unreported

9 March 2012 Zuma’s lawyer and the mega tender

23 March 2012 Tokyo Sexwale’s prints all over R10-billion tender

13 April 2012 Grant-tender beneficiary flouts the law

31 August 2012 Hulley and the R10b tender fiasco

28 September 2012 Social grant contractor’s sideline plan

14 December 2012 Social grants tender: Zuma lawyer’s role queried


22 March 2013 Tape implicates Zuma lawyer in ‘farcical’ tender

31 May 2013 FSB clamps down on Net1’s insurance to poor


28 February 2014 Another red flag raised in Sassa tender

25 April 2014 News analysis: Ruling on grants tender damns Sassa

1 May 2014 Grants ‘monopoly’ under fire


30 September 2016 How Sassa paid R316-million to a contractor based on a ‘lie’

15 December 2016 Serge Belamant, SASSA, and the ‘useful blacks’


3 February 2017 EXCLUSIVE: Officials defied Dlamini on social grants

18 February 2017 Grants: Belamant holds a gun to SA’s head as Dlamini dawdles

25 February 2017 Bathabile Dlamini’s Game of Chicken

16 March 2017 Serge Belamant, Sassa and the ‘war chest’ of poor people

17 March 2017 Social grants payment crisis – everything you need to know but were afraid to ask

4 April 2017 How Net 1 flouts the financial rules

13 April 2017 The minister, the middleman, the mansion and the new corporate kid

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Aisha Abdool Karim

Aisha is a freelance science and health reporter. She is joining the amaB team to work on a project about water and sanitation. Aisha’s passion for long-form narrative and investigative journalism was sparked while doing her master’s degree at Columbia University in New York. After graduating in 2018, she returned to South Africa and began working as a general beat reporter for the Daily Maverick. Aisha joined the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism in 2020 to focus on science reporting. During her time there, she covered the COVID-19 pandemic extensively — from fact-checking harmful medical misinformation to unpacking the science behind vaccine development. Aisha’s special interests include analysing health systems and in-depth coverage of public health issues and infectious diseases. She also loves spreadsheets and digging through data.

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