The SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) is suspending its biometrics system and will revert back to the SOCPEN system used in the past.
The decision was taken following a meeting on Wednesday afternoon at the request of the Minister of Social Development, Honourable Susan Shabangu, to resolve issues that led to NEHAWU embarking on a national strike.
In a joint statement issued by NEHAWU and SASSA on Wednesday, they said the meeting was characterised by robust debates and eventually arrived at a positive outcome for both beneficiaries and workers.
Both parties agreed that issues that led to the strike could have been handled much better and committed themselves to build a more cordial relationship with each other.
Both parties agreed that a special focus is needed to deal with the consequences of the decommissioning of pay points which has disadvantaged beneficiaries, especially those in rural areas.
At the end both parties agreed that biometrics must be suspended and that functionality on the system must be reversed by Monday. After the suspension of the functionality is done, tests will be conducted to eliminate any unintended consequences.
Workers will revert back to the SOCPEN system they have been using and are familiar with. An amendment of the key performance areas (KPAs) of grant administrators will be undertaken and SASSA will also look into the issue of remuneration for any extra added tasks to be performed by workers, the statement read.
Job evaluations must be undertaken and the minister also commits to prioritise the issue of skills audits.
A circular instructing employees to bypass biometrics shall be officially withdrawn and a message will be sent to all SASSA managers in this regard. Equally, final warnings issued shall be withdrawn and no disciplinary actions relating to biometrics will be tolerated going forward.
The union will go back to the picket lines on Thursday to report to members on the draft settlement agreement and use that to get a mandate for signing and demobilising.
On Monday, all workers are expected to return back to work and parties agreed that the “no work, no pay” principle will not be applied and that no workers will face punitive measures for participating in the strike.