Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, has become a master of dodging accountability. The Minister has failed to answer an astounding 93% of parliamentary questions, submitted by the DA, relating directly to the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the social grant crisis, since we began to raise the alarm about the impending crisis in mid-2016.
This is yet another clear indication of the Minister’s reign of impunity and how she continuously dodges any opportunity to account for her department’s failure to ensure that 17 million South Africans continue to receive their grants when the current invalid CPS contract ends on 31 March 2017.
In 2016, the DA submitted 15 questions and Dlamini saw fit to only answer two. This year, the DA submitted 13 questions and not one of them has been answered. A full list of the questions submitted can be found here.
The DA will be writing to the Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, to get an update on when these questions will be answered.
Parliamentary questions are vital component of accountability in Parliament and provide the opposition with the opportunity to ensure that the Executive conduct themselves in a transparent manner.
Some of the questions we submitted included:
- Whether she submitted the proposed payment model for the takeover of the payments of grants by SASSA to the National Treasury for analysis and evaluation;
- Whether SASSA intends to extend its contract for the distribution of grants with Net1/CPS before the specified contract concludes on 31 March 2017; and
- What are the details of the various work stream categories set up by her department to action the transition of the distribution of social grants from Net1/CPS to SASSA.
The Minister’s failure to answer these questions is highly problematic, as it indicates that she has once again violated her oath of office by not performing her functions to the best of her ability.
The DA is of the belief that Dlamini is no longer fit to hold office and have repeatedly called for President Zuma to fire her. His silence on this matter is deafening and serves to confirm that the ANC rewards failure.
The DA has approached the Constitutional Court specifically seeking a declaration that Dlamini has violated her oath of office by failing to perform the functions of her office with honour, dignity and to the best of her ability. We are also seeking a declaratory order confirming that Dlamini and SASSA have violated their duties in terms of Sections 165 (4) and (5) and Section 195 of the Constitution.
The DA will not allow for the Minister to dodge accountability any longer, that is why we will march in our thousands on Friday, 10 March 2017, to the Department of Social Development to send a clear message to the Minister that poor South Africans will no longer be treated in this disgraceful manner.