The striking of the elusive deal between the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office (Sapo) has been pushed back yet again.
MPs at a joint meeting in Parliament on Tuesday heard that an offer to the Post Office to build an integrated IT payment system for a new "hybrid" social grants scheme would be fast-tracked.
However, the project plan and details of the agreement will now be negotiated and drafted by an "intervention team" chaired by director-general of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Nompumelelo Mpofu.
Crucially, no mention was made of the other three services required by the hybrid system: banking services, production of new cards and cash distribution of grants.
MPs were addressed by the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on social security, chaired by Minister Jeff Radebe, after it received an intervention report from National Treasury on the stalled deal this week.
"The IMC noted the intervention of the parliamentary committees and the public anxiety that has arisen due to the delay in the finalisation of the appointment of an entity to pay social grants," he said from a statement.
Radebe said the latest "intervention team" would include Sassa, Sapo, Home Affairs and State Security, and will report weekly to the IMC.
"The approach will focus on the consolidation of the respective strengths of each entity and possible additional capacity from other parties."
It will formulate a project plan by next Friday, November 17, including the drawing up of a contract, a risk assessment and other logistical issues.
Radebe wanted to assure South Africans that no Sassa cards would expire on the December 31 deadline.
As government, they were committed to implementing a new social grants payment system before March 31, 2018.
MPs were readying themselves to ask questions on Wednesday.