The DA will write to the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, to demand that the new contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) be made public.
If she will not do so voluntarily, the DA will submit an application, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), to force her to.
Reports indicate that the new contract with CPS has already been signed, yet ‘dodging Dlamini’ has taken every opportunity to avoid answering vital questions of clarity on the terms of the new contract.
The ANC and Dlamini have shown time and time again that there will be no accountability for this crisis and that is why the DA is left with no choice but to submit an application in terms of PAIA for the contract, in the interest of openness and transparency.
The current invalid contract between SASSA and CPS will come to an end in just over 3 weeks, on 31 March 2017.
The 17 million South Africans who rely on social grants just to put the bare essentials on the table from day to day, deserve to know if and how their grants will be paid.
Despite the Department of Social Development and SASSA knowing that the current contract was invalid since 2012, they ignored the Constitutional Court, and the DA believes this crisis was manufactured to force a new contract with CPS.
The DA has reason to believe that SASSA’s new contract with CPS will be at an inflated cost that may cost taxpayers billions of rands.
Tomorrow, 10 March 2017, the DA will march, en masse, to the Department of Social Development to show Minister Dlamini, that even if the ANC-government rewards bad behaviour, the DA and South Africans will not.
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.
Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, as the Leader of Government Business, must urgently instruct the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, to attend the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) meeting in Parliament tomorrow.
The DA has written to him this morning to urge him to do so, and also requested that he provides Parliament with an update before the SCOPA meeting, to this effect. Section 56 of the Constitution states that “The National Assembly or any of its committees may require any person or institution to report to it” and therefore the Minister is accountable to Parliament and must account.
Since this crisis emerged and despite the DA’s efforts, Dlamini has evaded every opportunity for accountability. If rumours are to go by, it seems likely that she may do so again tomorrow.
This cannot be tolerated by Parliament or by the Leader of Government Business. Indeed, accounting to Parliament is not optional – Dlamini has no choice but to attend and explain herself to South Africa.
SCOPA has invited Dlamini, as the political head of the Department, to answer questions regarding fruitless and wasteful expenditure within SASSA as well as the current invalid Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract.
The DA will accordingly demand that Dlamini provide a complete breakdown on the allegedly signed contract with CPS, including a breakdown of any other costs incurred, and she must make copies of the said contract available.
She must also provide answers on the resignation of Social Development Director-General, Zane Dangor, as her refusal to explain this to date provides a clear indication as to why we are in this mess today.
The truth of the matter is that if Dlamini had even an ounce of integrity, she would have resigned for her role in this growing crisis. Likewise, if Jacob Zuma and the ANC really cared about the poor, and social grant recipients, young and old, he would have fired her as soon as the extent of the mess she created emerged.
The reality is that the ANC doesn’t care about the poor. They only care about lining their pockets – taking as much as they can for themselves.
The DA will not allow this to go unanswered. We will fight the ANC’s attempts to take away people’s grants. Every person who needs a grant, must get a grant, come 1st April 2017.
We are therefore continuing with our application in the Constitutional Court, and with our mass march in Tshwane on 10 March 2017. We will also use every opportunity, inside and outside of Parliament, to make sure this matter is resolved in the interests of 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans.
The disgraceful contempt shown by the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, towards 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans this morning, deserves condemnation in the strongest terms possible.
The DA is both shocked and angered by the Minister’s failure to table a clear plan to resolve this crisis. If anything her unwillingness to provide clear answers, determination to blame the media, and refusal to explain the Director General’s resignation, provides the clearest indication yet as to why we are in this mess today.
Indeed, Dlamini doesn’t care about the poor, or all those South Africans, young and old, who rely on a social grant to survive. She is in this job just to feed at the trough – not to make a difference.
President Zuma must also be held accountable for this growing crisis. He has remained silent until the last possible minute, and failed to fire Minister Dlamini – the bare minimum he could do – to show that he was equally concerned about grant recipients.
Jacob Zuma rewards failure, so long as it means he remains in power.
The DA will not let the ANC get away with taking grants away from our poor and vulnerable. We are ready to do whatever we can to ensure that every person who needs a grant, gets a grant, come 1st April 2017.
We will therefore continue with our application in the Constitutional Court, seeking accountability for those who have failed to ensure SASSA’s readiness to take over the distribution of grants and who have put the livelihoods of 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans at risk.
As a part of our application, we have sought a declaratory order from the court confirming that the Minister of Social Development, the CEO of the SASSA and the SASSA, violated their duties in terms of sections 165(4) and (5) and section 195 of the Constitution.
We are further seeking a declaration that the Minister has violated her oath of office in failing to perform the functions of her office with honour, dignity and to the best of her ability.
Our preparations for our mass march this week Friday, 10 March 2017, are also continuing. We are ready to send a clear message to Minister Dlamini that her disdain for the poor will not be left unanswered. Dlamini must go and go now. We will make this clear on Friday.
Reports today that Social Development Director-General, Zane Dangor, has resigned is yet another sign of the Social Development Minister’s destructive and toxic influence and should see her removed immediately.
The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Rosemary Capa, to request that she invite Mr Dangor to come before the committee to detail what has been taking place.
Dlamini has utterly failed to ensure that SASSA was ready to take over the distribution of grants at the end of this month when the current invalid CPS contract comes to an end and has allowed the situation to reach crisis point.
In fact, she has manufactured this crisis and even misled the Constitutional Court in October last year when she stated that SASSA would be ready to take over the distribution.
Dlamini cannot be trusted with the livelihoods of 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans.
The President has more than enough cause to remove her and for the sake of millions of South Africans, the DA calls on him to do so immediately.
The DA has applied for permission for a large-scale march to the Department of Social Development in Tshwane, next week Friday, 10 March 2017.
Thousands of DA supporters and concerned South Africans will take to the street of our Capital to make it clear to the ANC that they cannot take the grants away from our poor and vulnerable.
The DA is ready to do whatever we can to ensure that every single person who needs a grant, gets a grant come April, 1st 2017.
We are heading towards an unparalleled catastrophe, because the ANC’s Bathabile Dlamini has failed to put the interests of the poor first, focusing instead on hiding her smallanyana skeletons and defending Jacob Zuma at all costs.
Instead of intervening to make sure grants are delivered, Jacob Zuma and the ANC have also done nothing. The ANC has lost interest in the poor, they only care about lining their pockets.
South Africans can’t sit by and do nothing when over 17 million people, including children and pensioners, may have no income at all to survive on in three weeks’ time.
We need to fight Dlamini’s contempt for the poor and send a strong message next week that we will not allow our people to be treated in this way. The DA will fight for every person to get their grants, and on time!
We encourage all concerned South Africans to join our march and make your voices heard.
In today’s post cabinet briefing, the Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, announced that the matter of the ongoing social grants issue was raised, but that cabinet would schedule time next week to deal with the complexities of the issue.
This is an outrageous abdication of responsibility and it should leave every South African angry.
With just over three weeks left until the deadline, this clearly demonstrates just how little the ANC cabinet cares about the 17 million vulnerable South Africans that depend on social grants as a lifeline.
It seems that the tendency to avoid accountability and responsibility is not unique to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the Department of Social Development but is also present throughout the Cabinet and the ANC as a whole.
For months Minister Dlamini and SASSA have been stalling on this issue and with just over three weeks to go, this crisis cannot be left without action from the Presidency and Cabinet for a moment longer.
We again urgently call on President Zuma to hand over the negotiations of the grants payment process to the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan. It is clear that Bathabile Dlamini cannot be trusted with the livelihoods of 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans and should be relieved of her duties immediately.
The DA will continue to hold the Presidency and Cabinet to account for their negligence, seeing that the uncaring ANC government is failing to do the same. We will not allow the ANC to get away with depriving poor South Africans of their grants.
The DA welcomes the decision by SCOPA to summon the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, to account for the SASSA grants crisis.
Following the farcical SASSA engagement with SCOPA on Tuesday, which the minister chose to ignore, the DA urged the SCOPA chair to call the Minister alone to appear before the committee on Tuesday 7 March.
SCOPA sent a letter to the minister late on Tuesday evening requesting her attendance and are now awaiting a response.
The DA calls on the Minister to summon the courage to appear before SCOPA, face the music and come clean on her plans, or lack thereof, to ensure that the 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans who depend on social grants each month receive their grants on 1 April 2017.
Since this crisis became public knowledge, Minister Dlamini has evaded every opportunity for accountability. She has continuously prioritised campaigning for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, rather than prioritising the millions of poor South Africans who depend on her to put their interests first.
If the Minister fails to accept this invitation, she will once again prove that the ANC does not care about the poor and vulnerable in our society.
Date: Tuesday 7 March 2017
Venue: V454; Fourth Floor, Old Assembly Building, Parliament
With only a month until the expiration of the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract and the switchover of social grants payments to 17 million vulnerable South Africans, the eleventh hour withdrawal of SASSA’s Constitutional Court application by Minister Bathabile Dlamini is a clear display of her disdain for the law and her firm commitment to disregard every piece of advice she has received from key government institutions and her legal counsel.
Minister Dlamini’s sudden withdrawal of this application raises a number of questions. Is the Minister nervous of what could happen should the Constitutional Court make adverse comments on her conduct? Is she nervous of the possible consequences to her political future? And most importantly, what is going to happen to the 17 million South Africans who rely on social grants to stay alive?
The DA cannot, as a matter of conscience, trust Bathabile Dlamini with the livelihoods of 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans, and urgently calls on President Jacob Zuma to hand over the negotiations of the grants payment process to the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan.
Minister Dlamini has allowed for this situation to reach crisis point. The President must appoint National Treasury to take the lead role in the negotiations for a new service provider, in terms of Section 97 of the Constitution, in order to ensure that this process is cost effective and transparent.
The DA is also currently consulting with its lawyers to explore the possible avenues for the DA to take to contribute to a transparent and legal grants payment process.
The DA shares the anger of all decent South Africans at the Minister’s blatant disregard of the consequences of her disdainful ineptitude towards the 17 million South Africans who rely on social grants which is a cause for great concern.
It only serves to strengthen our call that Bathabile Dlamini is no longer fit to head any governmental department and President Zuma must fire her with immediate effect.
The DA will do everything it can to help ensure that South Africans receive their full grants, on time. The ANC will not be allowed to get away with taking away the grants of poor South Africans.