Corruption Watch (CW) celebrates the judgment handed down today by Judge Moroa Tsoka ordering Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to pay back, in full, the R316 447 361.41 received from the South African Social Services Agency (Sassa), with interest accrued since June 2014 until the date of payment.
The organisation was previously in court on 22 February 2018 requesting that the Sassa CEO’s decision to make this payment be set aside, and CPS be compelled to pay back this amount.
“This judgment reinforces the immense importance of procurement processes as a bulwark against corruption and maladministration,” said David Lewis, CW’s executive director. “However, while we are confined to reviewing administrative irregularities, we have long called on the criminal justice authorities to investigate the relationship between CPS, Sassa and the social development ministry. We repeat that call, as we do our call for the International Finance Corporation to review its significant shareholding in a company that conducts itself in the manner that CPS does.”
Corruption Watch first approached the courts on 25 March 2015 with its founding affidavit. After close to two years of defending their position, Sassa withdrew its opposition to the review application, leaving CPS as the sole respondent in the application.
This case represents a significant win for civil society and demonstrates the importance of pursuing unlawful transactions that stem from irregular procurement processes, where public funds have been abused to benefit private interests. This order sends an important and strong message to state institutions and suppliers that irregular and fraudulent practices will be met with punitive sanctions and that civil society will not allow irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure to go unchallenged.
“As a result of Sassa’s unlawful conduct, the fiscus has been robbed of a substantial amount of money intended for the most vulnerable and poor people of our country,” Tsoka noted in the judgment. “It is just and equitable that the payment of R316-million made by Sassa to CPS, together with interests, be returned to the fiscus for the benefit of those for whom it was intended in the first place.”
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