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South Africa seeks bids for biometrics-verified grant payment system


After a series of controversy-plagued tenders, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) is once again looking for a private company to distribute 15 million social grants across South Africa in a tender worth more than $230 million.

According to a report from Business Day’s Stuart Theobald, Sassa is looking for an enterprise to administer social security grants in South Africa which include the old age pension, the disability grant, the child support grant, the foster child grant and the care dependency grant.

To cut down on fraudulent grant recipients, Sassa specifies that recipients of grants should be verified by biometrics. The incumbent provider, Cash Paymaster Services, tried to implement a voice biometric system that verified users over the phone, but technical issues got in the way.

CPS won the tender in 2012, but its tender was ruled invalid in April by the Constitutional Court, forcing Sassa to conduct it again.

Alongside the cash pay points like the ones set up by CPS, Sassa’s new tender will require fingerprint biometrics at ATMs that ensure only the verified recipients can draw their grants, but requiring ATM upgrades across the country. Currently, around a third of grants enter bank accounts without proper verification.

The tender also requires in-person grant delivery to those too infirm to reach machines to verify their biometrics.

The new tender winner will be announced around April 2015, and it’s expected that CPS, as well as South Africa’s big banks will consider applying for the tender.

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