Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini did the right thing by apologising for her handling of the grants crisis, two pensioners told News24 on Friday.
"We accept Dlamini's apology. We have to forgive her, as long as they have agreed to pay. She did the right thing by apologising," Evelyn Meselane, 63, said outside the Constitutional Court.
She was sitting on a bench next to Lulama Muso, 72. She has two grandchildren she cares for because her daughter does not work, and she suffers from an illness.
Both women get state pensions. Meselane has three unemployed children and takes care of her two grandchildren.
Both women came to listen to the court's judgment on Friday morning.
"There are a lot of people who are suffering, who depend on this grant. Some are taking care of grandchildren and they don't have food at home. They use this grants to pay for such things, even for school items for the children," Meselane said.
Earlier, Dlamini apologised unreservedly to millions of grant beneficiaries for the anxiety and fear she had put them through. Her spokesperson Lumka Olifant said she would adhere to the court's order.
The Black Sash's Gauteng branch manager, Thendiwe Zulu, said the ruling was a victory for democracy and for the more than 17 million beneficiaries.
Standing with some of the grant recipients outside the court, Zulu said the court's decision was best for the country's democracy.
Had the invalid contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) not been extended, 17 million people would have gone to bed hungry and unable to buy basic necessities, she said.
Zulu said the Black Sash got what it wanted from the court, which was an order that it would supervise the implementation of a new contract to pay social grants.
The court ordered that the invalid contract for CPS to pay SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) grants be extended for 12 months, under the same terms and conditions, and under strict supervision.
The declaration of the invalidity of the previous contract between Sassa and CPS would be suspended for 12 months, Justice Johan Froneman read from the order.
Dlamini was given until March 31 to show why she should not be joined to the proceedings in her personal capacity, and why she should not pay the costs of the application from her own pocket.
If CPS wanted to change how much it got paid, it could approach National Treasury, Froneman said.
Dlamini and Sassa were ordered to file affidavits every three months indicating progress they had made.
During the hearing on Wednesday, a frustrated Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng asked how Sassa and Dlamini came to be seen to display such incompetence in their handling of the debacle.