DA gives President Ramaphosa one week to fire Dlamini and Gigaba

The following statement was delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, at a media briefing in Parliament. Maimane was joined by DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP.

The Department of Social Development is perhaps one of the most important in government, as it is tasked with the welfare of the most vulnerable people in our society – young children, the elderly, orphans, the disabled and foster children.

It should be a source of national shame that such an important department was ever run by a Minister like Bathabile Dlamini, and this shame is compounded by the fact that she now still remains in Cabinet in a position of important responsibility for championing women’s issues.

Yesterday’s scathing Constitutional Court judgement against Minister Bathabile Dlamini, in her capacity as then Minister of Social Development, confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa now harbours two Ministers in his Cabinet who have lied under oath.

These are not allegations. They are the unanimous findings of the Constitutional Court and the North Gauteng High Court respectively.

It is truly an exceptional circumstance to have two members of the Executive found to have lied under oath in court cases relating to their work in government. This is intolerable, and both of these Ministers should be dismissed from Cabinet.

I have written to President Ramaphosa asking him to fire Ministers Gigaba and Dlamini before 5 October. Should he fail to do so, we will approach the Courts to seek an order to compel him to act to uphold the honour of high executive honour and remove these two perjurers from his Cabinet.

President Ramaphosa has spoken often and vocally about his desire to act meaningfully to clean up his administration. This is a perfect opportunity for him to show real commitment to his words, and to act to uphold the integrity of the Executive.

Bathabile Dlamini

Bathabile Dlamini has failed in her job, having been directly responsible for the social grants crisis, which the DA believes she purposefully manufactured to ensure CPS would continue to distribute grants, no doubt for her own personal gain.

Dlamini was determined to deliberately derail the entire process of SASSA procuring an alternative service provider, all in a bid to ensure that the CPS contract could be extended over and over again.

Retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe offered a scathing assessment of Dlamini’s testimony during the Inquiry into her role in the 2017 social grants debacle.

Yesterday’s unanimous judgment by the Constitutional Court found that (par 12): “(…) at best for her, her conduct was reckless and grossly negligent,” and that (par 15) “the Minister misled the Court to protect herself from the consequences of her behaviour.”

In the view of the court (par 15), she “used her position as Minister of the Department to place herself between constitutionally enshrined rights and those entitled to them.”

Minister Dlamini has time and again proven that she is incapable of governing a department and continuously failed in delivering on her mandate of protecting the most vulnerable in our society.

It is obvious that Dlamini is not fit for office and her contempt for the highest court in our country is matched only by her contempt for the most vulnerable people in our country.

Bathabile Dlamini is an embarrassment to the government and the country, and besmirches the office of Minister. The President should dismiss her immediately.

Where or not he does, the DA will lay criminal charges against Dlamini for committing perjury by lying under oath to the Constitutional Court.

We will also lay a complaint against Minister Dlamini, in terms of section 4 of the Executive Ethics Act. Section 2 of the Executive Ethics Act forbids “Cabinet members, Deputy Ministers and MECs from…exposing themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and their private interests; (iv) using their position or any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person; and (v) acting in a way that may compromise the credibility or integrity of their office or of the government.” As is stipulated by the Act, the complaint will be laid with the Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Malusi Gigaba

Minister Malusi Gigaba is directly implicated in bypassing South African law to ensure that the Guptas were given citizenship when they were not entitled to it.

In February this year, in the matter of Fireblade Aviation (Pty) Ltd v Minister of Home Affairs, Judge Neil Tuchten of the North Gauteng High Court found that Gigaba, when he was still Home Affairs Minister, “deliberately told untruths under oath” and that “he committed a breach of the constitution so serious that I could characterise it as a violation”.

The DA has already laid a formal complaint with the Public Protector requesting that she investigate Minister Gigaba’s conduct in the matter in light of the serious findings of the High Court. We will continue our engagements with the Public Protector to ensure that her investigation into Minister Gigaba is now expedited so that he can be held to account.

However, it seems that there has been little progress in this matter and Adv. Mkhwebane is dragging her feet. The DA reminds her that she has a duty to investigate without fear or favour and to ensure that those in high office uphold their oaths of office.

We will also follow this up now with perjury charges against Minister Gigaba.

The fact is that the ANC have taken South Africa down the wrong path. Corruption is rife and there is a lack of respect for the law and the requirements of high office.

President Ramaphosa has pledged to turn this around. Now is the time for him to show whether he really means in deed what he has said.

So far, he has often acted in the best interests of the unity of the ANC, instead of the best interests of the country. He must not defend these Ministers and protect their jobs in the interests of the ANC. He must fire these two liars now.

From State Capture to State Collapse: The Legacy of a Failed ANC

The following remarks were delivered by Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen MP, the DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Natasha Mazzone MP, and the DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP, at a press conference in Cape Town today.

State Capture has been the defining feature of the ANC government for the past decade. While the DA welcomes that the work the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has now begun, it is important to confront its legacy.

From the appointment and protection of corrupt or unqualified individuals, the purging and threatening of whistle-blowers and dedicated state employees, the unabated looting of public funds, the ANC’s mismanagement has gutted the State. What is worse, the ANC has forced South Africans to carry the cost.

Not only has the ANC allowed State Capture to thrive but they have reached into the pockets of every South African to pay for it, indirectly through bailouts and guarantees, and directly through the recent VAT increase, the successive fuel increases. Life is harder and more expensive for citizens.

Essentially State Capture has led to the very real reality of State Collapse which we are now left with. This collapsed state is not just about the billions lost, but it is the very real consequences it has had on suffocating the potential of our people and country to realise its potential.

State Collapse means our children attend schools with no toilets, it means our elderly go hungry for days not knowing when or if they will get the social grant they rely on just to get by. It has meant that millions more South Africans live with the indignity and fear of entrusting their loved ones to a health system that neglects, abuses and in many instances, kills them.

State Capture came to light two years ago and yet there have been no arrests of politicians or corrupt officials. The DA has called for commissions, laid criminal charges and made great endeavours to hold the ANC government to account. However, it is now clear that South Africa can no longer endure another five years of disastrous ANC governance. While we will continue to fulfil our Constitutional role to hold those who loot the public purse accountable, it is clear that the ANC cannot self-correct. They simply do not know how. It is now incumbent on the millions of South Africans to punish them for their broken promises.

Today, we are here to join the dots on how this reckless and self-enriching approach to governance has resulted in bankrupt state entities, increased criminal activity and the highest number of unemployed people since the advent of democracy.

State Capture hollows out tax collection as government levies corruption tax

Once the beacon of public sector excellence, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has suffered massive institutional erosion since former president Jacob Zuma deployed Tom Moyane to head the tax-collecting agency in 2014. Over the last four years, as State Capture reached its zenith, there has been a revenue shortfall of approximately R100 billion, described by one senior SARS official as entirely self-inflicted. The agency’s notorious investigative capacity was dismantled, and honest taxpayers’ rights were violated as tax refunds were refused or delayed, causing some business to shed jobs and others to close entirely.  Meanwhile, Moyane ensured Gupta-linked companies received hundreds of millions of rands in tax refunds, often illegally paid into attorneys’ trust accounts.

Corruption has infiltrated the once proud tax agency with the illicit tobacco trade increasingly being overlooked, costing the fiscus an estimated R37 billion between 2010 and 2017. There is no clearer example of organised crime and corruption costing ordinary South Africans dearly, both in terms of money for service delivery and jobs.

In a desperate attempt to plug the revenue gap, the ANC has turned to levy corruption tax on each and every South African. From the increase in VAT to the increase in the fuel levy, South Africans have been asked to pay an inefficient and indifferent government more and more, precisely as the cost of living amid soars.

Throwing good money after bad

Nothing illustrates that abject failure of the ANC government better than our ailing state-owned entities (SOEs) which became the epicentre of the State Capture project and the embodiment of maladministration and unimaginable waste.

The list of SOEs that have been swallowing up tax-payers money is shamefully long and cannot be considered in its entirety. However, some have become synonymous with corruption, cadre deployment, poor governance and the ever-present threat of financial ruin.


Eskom has received large injections of capital from the government to the detriment of spending on other key areas. A R23 billion capital injection in 2015 was soon followed by the dubious conversion of a R60 billion subordinated loan to equity in 2016 to strengthen the utility’s balance sheet.

While cash has been pouring in, State Capture allegations and financial mismanagement have been rampant with the sale of the Optimum mine to the Gupta-owned Tegeta; inflated coal contracts; and redundant McKinsey/Trillian consulting fees.

The two large, coal-fired power stations at Medupi and Kusile have also doubled in price since they were first commissioned, with poor project management, labour unrest, procurement irregularities and contractor incompetence leading the way.

While high electricity costs and power outages have acted a brake on economic growth, Eskom accounted for R41.5 billion in finance costs and continues to record annual financial losses, amounting to R2.3 billion in the previous financial year alone.

South African Airlines (SAA)

SAA has been one of the most inefficient and worst run SOEs, hollowed out by State Capture and mismanagement by ANC cadres. Since 2009/10, the airline has received bailouts to the tune of R11.5 billion –  this doesn’t even consider guarantees extended to the airline, the R5 billion transition finance agreement announced earlier in 2018, or the R21.7 billion promised over the next three years set out in SAA’s corporate plan. The airline is a good example that the ANC puts cadres before South Africa, as the airline has no strategic or developmental value, yet good money that could be used far better is given to the SAA elites.


Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA)

Systematic corruption and mismanagement at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) have led our rail system into near collapse. The rail system is plagued by chronic delays, dangerous conditions and vandalism that is totally out of control. According to the Auditor-General, the entity and group had incurred a combined accumulated loss of R8.9 billion at March 2017, with another R14.1 billion in irregular expenditure during the 2015/16 financial year. The Public Protector’s 2015 “Derailed Report” described how top officials at PRASA handed out contracts to friends and allies, amounting to almost R3 billion. Corruption and mismanagement have led to a lack of safety officials and police which is making crime thrive and chronic delays are costing jobs because no alternatives are in place when the system inevitably breaks down. With the context of increasing fuel prices and record unemployment, it is shocking that the only truly affordable transportation has been brought to a standstill.

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)

The after years of political capture and gross mismanagement, the SABC is now almost R700 million in debt. This week, senior employees revealed to Parliament’s portfolio committee that they are paying salaries first and thereafter utilities, in the hopes of just keeping the doors open. After meeting all of their obligations this month, the public broadcaster will have only R26 million left in its bank account.

The SABC has also failed in its mandate as the public broadcaster, acting instead as a captured “state broadcaster” that serves as an ANC mouthpiece and even dutifully airing videos made by the Party’s leader upon request.

This week we also saw hundreds of employees of the “Afro World View” news network, formerly known as ANN7, summarily lose their jobs because the network was forced to close its doors.

This comes amid an economic climate where millions of young South Africans struggle to find employment. The thought that employees of the SABC may soon follow suit is unbearable.

From State Capture to State Collapse: The Human Cost

Social grants

After a disastrous 2016/2017 in which the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), Net1 and the Department of Social Development came close to entirely collapsing the social grant systems, whilst spending R42 million on setting up unnecessary “workstreams” and wasting R1.4 billion in irregular expenditure, it was hoped that under a new Minister in 2018 the entity will turn itself around. So far, this hope is not holding up.

During the past few months, the DA has conducted numerous oversight inspections to SASSA pay points to monitor the process of switching over from CPS to the South African Post Office (SAPO). The process has been characterised by long queues and endless frustration. In July and again in August many grant beneficiaries had to wait for weeks to receive their money as glitches in the system caused many payments to not go through or to not reflect on beneficiaries’ cards.

Meanwhile, the cost of living has been rising steadily for South Africans across the spectrum, with enormous fuel price hikes driving up the cost of food and other commodities. According to the PACSA monthly food price barometer, the price of a basic food basket increased by about 7% between September 2017 and May 2018. Standing at just over R3,000 now, this is entirely unaffordable for the average family that rely on social grants for their income.

Local government in disarray

State Capture and State Collapse influences every single level of government, yet local governments are especially impacted, and their financial position is perilous. Only approximately 7% of our municipalities function well; 112 out of 257 municipalities had unfunded budgets in 2017/181; 87 municipalities are labelled as distressed; and 11 municipalities are under Section 139 interventions (under some form of administration). This is a clear picture of maladministration, and at the end of the day, the poorest of the poor pay the most for this maladministration and collapse of local government.

Maladministration is not the only issue, but blatant corruption is present at many municipalities. The clearest example is the fact that 15 municipalities illegally deposited funds with VBS Mutual Bank, in contravention of the MFMA and against the explicit instructions of National Treasury to not do so. It is highly unlikely that these municipalities will get their deposits back, estimated to be R1.5 billion. This will hamper their ability to provide services and could lead to a collapse of these municipalities.

Public safety

The Presidential Protection Unit currently employs 1,382 staff members at a cost of R693 million per annum, protecting a mere 17 individuals on a permanent basis. VIPs are kept safe by 81 protection personnel each, whereas ordinary South Africans have to make due with one police officer for every 369 people. In Nyanga in the Western Cape, the country’s so-called “murder capital”, the police-to-population ratio is an estimated one police officer to every 628 residents.

While current and former Heads of State and their spouses are safely protected, millions of South Africans live in constant fear of being the next victims of violent crime in our country.

Human settlements

There is currently a backlog of 1.8 million people registered on the Department of Human Settlement’s National Housing Needs Register (NHNR). The Department is a sterling example of how the ANC government has taken South Africa backwards.

In Mpumalanga, years of maladministration and rampant corruption under then-Premier DD Mabuza has left thousands out in the cold.  With a housing backlog of 183,555, a collapse of service delivery and spreading protests are the legacy of the Deputy President in the province. Indeed, under President Ramaphosa, looters and crooks have not been prosecuted: they have been promoted.

The DA has conducted countrywide visits and exposed how the failed ANC government has denied South Africans dignified housing. Too often even those residents who have been given structures continue to wait for the running water, electricity and proper sewerage systems to be fully installed at incomplete and crumbling houses.

Public healthcare

The ANC has decided to forge ahead with the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme despite the dismal failure of the pilot projects around the country. This failure has cost South Africa a budgeted amount of R2,3 billion this year alone, and still, the failing ANC government would have us gut the private health care system, putting the health of South Africa in their exclusive care at a cost of almost R200 billion per year.  We are only now coming to grips with the trauma that began with a R1.2 billion corruption scandal in the Gauteng Department of Health and culminated in the deaths of 144 patients in the Life Esidimeni tragedy. We mourn the 499 cancer patients who died while awaiting treatment in KwaZulu-Natal in 2015 and 2016, the result of the oncology crisis which unfolded on the ANC’s watch. This government has broken our healthcare system and the NHI is a poisonous solution devised to fuel further ANC corruption.

Higher education

In a last-ditch attempt to shore up his corrupt patronage network, Jacob Zuma announced increased financial support for students in December 2017. This desperate attempt to sway the ANC elective conference in favour of his chosen successor, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is set to cost the taxpayers R43 billion extra as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is expanded over the next three years.

Zuma’s surprise declaration meant that NSFAS officials had less than a month before the academic year got underway to deal with tens of thousands of new applications in an already struggling system. Treasury and the Department of Higher Education and Training admitted that they were not consulted and were not ready. As a result, nearly 75,000 students who were awarded NSFAS funding for 2018 have not yet received their funding – eight months into the academic year. Stuck in limbo without qualifications or support, these students will not be securing lasting employment any time soon.

Basic education

School safety is one of the major casualties of the looting of the fiscus and Zuma’s Higher Education promise. The 2018 budget for school infrastructure suffered a massive cut of R7.2 billion, despite a backlog of schools that are falling apart and lack basic services.  Pit toilets at schools, in which two young learners have lost their lives in recent times, would cost R7.5 billion to eradicate – almost the exact amount cut from the infrastructure budget. 24 years after the advent of democracy, 3,898 schools still have only pit toilets for use, while another 3,040 have dangerous unused pit toilets that have not yet been demolished. Meanwhile, 97,000 learners who need transport to get to school safely are not receiving it, due to a budget shortfall of R640 million. These learners will never make it to post-school education or employment if their safety at school continues to be compromised.

Unsecured borders

Constitutional delinquent and ultimate Cabinet reshuffle survivor, Malusi Gigaba, has failed to attend to South Africa’s burgeoning immigration problem. Seemingly preoccupied with expediting the Gupta’s naturalization process, he has overseen a failing Department of Home Affairs (DHA) which simply does not have the capacity or the resources to identify, detain and deport illegal immigrants. In 2017 alone 384,357 people came into South Africa and failed to leave upon expiry of their visas – this figure only accounts for those persons from the top five ‘offending’ countries. Department figures dating back to 2013 put that number at well over one million. Our failure to deal with illegal immigration has cost the country R279 million over the last five years on deportations alone. And with fewer than 800 immigration officers in the country whose job it is to seek and arrest undocumented immigrants, undocumented immigrants often go undetected for years.

The asylum system has a backlog of more than 100,000 applications which, by DHA’s own admission, is a gross underestimation. The Department’s inefficiencies in the processing of asylum applications have led to asylum seekers – who followed proper procedures upon entry into the country – failing to get renewed permits timeously due to staff shortages and Refugee Reception Office closures. These applications are then kicked out of the system, rendering the applicants illegal. And these cases are not included in the backlog figure quoted above.


Water and sanitation

The Vaal River crisis is a potential environmental catastrophe. Accounting for some 45% of the drinking water in South Africans and 60% of economic water support supplied, the system forms an integral part of South Africa’s water supply.

The crisis was identified as far back as 2008, with studies by the CSIR pointing to high levels of toxicity caused by the discharge of raw sewage and industrial waste, the direct result of mismanagement, poor infrastructure development and lack of maintenance by the Emfuleni and Ngwathe local authorities. Water experts believe it could cost between R800 billion and R1 trillion to rejuvenate the water system.

Meanwhile, the Auditor-General found R6.4 billion in wasteful and irregular expenditure at the Department of Water and Sanitation, dating back to 2014 when Nomvula Mokonyane was appointed as minister. Mokonyane’s tenure included an unbudgeted amount of R2.5 billion for the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority; the so-called “War on Leaks” programme, costing R524 million, was included under the service programmes and not budgeted for; and a staggering R848 million is owed to municipalities and water boards.

Moving South Africa Forward Again

The DA, as the Official Opposition, has done everything possible to hold the ANC-led government to account. Through our tireless work and using every tool at our disposal that corruption, State Capture, bad governance and institutional incapacity has been laid bare. The ANC has been given every opportunity to address these problems, be it through Motions of No Confidence in Jacob Zuma and his enablers or through our tireless drive to expose State Capture in the Legislature.

The Zondo Commission is finally up and running, and we hope it is given the space and support to complete its important work. It will take time. But we cannot ignore the fact that, to date, no-one has gone to jail and no senior politician has lost their job.

The DA believes that the ANC as an organisation must be called to appear before the Zondo Commission to explain their part in the project of State Capture, and we will be consulting legal advisors on how we can achieve this.

The DA in Parliament has done everything possible to uncover the rot and hold people to account, but Parliament itself has been sidelined and undermined by the ANC. In June 2017, four portfolio committees that were tasked by House Chairperson Cedric Frolick to investigate allegations of State Capture, yet it was the sterling work done by another portfolio committee, on Public Enterprises, that turned the tide and made it impossible for the stonewalling to continue.

The ANC is clearly not fit to govern. Indeed, it doesn’t matter who is tasked with leading the organisation. The failing ANC has brought the State to the brink of collapse and it has no idea how to turn things around.

It’s now up to the voters.

We will be launching our offer to South Africans, alongside all our Premier candidates next month. We will travel to every corner of the country, knocking on every door and speaking to South Africans. It is now time for voters to remove the failing ANC at the polls in 2019. We no longer can endure another 5 years of disastrous ANC governance.

SASSA once again thrown a lifeline by ConCourt

Please find attached soundbites in isiZulu and English by DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP.
The Constitutional Court’s decision today to grant SASSA’s application to extend the invalid CPS contract for another 6 months, is yet another lifeline for the failing agency.
Although the DA has always been resistant to the unlawful CPS contract, we respect the Court’s decision as it was ultimately made in the best interest of the almost 800 000 cash payment social grants beneficiaries.
The truth is that SASSA never had any contingency plans in place in the event the Constitutional Court refused this application. SASSA has essentially held a gun to the head of the Constitutional Court leaving it with no other option but to extend the unlawful contract with the parasitic CPS.
It is an indictment on SASSA that its affairs had to be overseen by the Courts. This is due to the poor management and planning on the part of the agency under former Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini.
A report by the panel of experts appointed to oversee SASSA’s readiness to take over social grants warned of SASSA and Dlamini’s lack of cooperation and blatant delaying tactics in averting another social grants crisis.
This decision by the Court today has yet again averted a potential crisis but it is now time for SASSA to get its house in order and institutionalise the payment of social grants.
Further, the DA notes that the Constitutional Court has ordered CPS to pay back the R316 million payment it had received from SASSA in 2014, with interest. SASSA must immediately recover these monies without further delay as the unacceptably high instances of irregular expenditure in the department and its agencies must be brought to an end.
The DA will continue to monitor the situation and we maintain that all those involved in this avoidable crisis, including Dodging Dlamini, should be held personally liable for the legal costs.

DA shows that R410 child grant is not enough to give poor children proper nutrition

Please find attached isiZulu and English soundbites by the DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP. Please also find pictures here, here, here and here.  
Today, the DA went shopping in Tembisa to determine whether the R410 child grant is truly enough to provide poor children with the basic nutritional foods they need for a month.
This follows the announcement last week by the former Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, that VAT will increase from 14% to 15%. It was also announced that the child support grant would increase from R380 to R400 on 1 April, and to R410 on 1 October.
The DA has opposed this VAT increase because it is anti-poor. Minister Gigaba’s absurd argument that the vulnerable would be protected through “zero-rating basic food items and above average increases in grants” proves that he has no idea how poor people in our country struggle each and every day just to put food on the table.
According to the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PASCA) basket, poor mothers tend to buy 38 items of food which include more Vatable goods than zero-rated foods. This essentially means that the above-inflation grants increases to supposedly ‘combat’ the VAT increase, is just not enough.
The DA showed that the R410 child grant is not sustainable, as we were only able to buy some items, including, 1kg chicken, 5kg maize meal, 250g tea, 2 packets of soup, 2.5kg sugar, 2.5kg cake flour, 2l cooking oil, 2kg rice, 2 cans pilchards, 2 of mixed vegetables, 2.5kg samp and 1kg brown beans. This is not even enough to fill young tummies for a month, let alone fill a trolley, and it excluded some basic essentials children need.
The reality is that in many cases, the child support grant is not only needed to fill a child’s basic dietary needs alone but is also used to fund transport fees, school expenses, clothing and other household essentials.
South Africa’s child malnutrition level currently stands at an alarming 27% and every day 4 children die due to severe acute malnutrition-related causes.
Our social services require urgent intervention and that would require decisive leadership from the new Minister of Social Development, Susan Shabangu. Currently, there is still a lot of chaos and confusion regarding the distribution of social grants.
Shabangu’s first order of business must be to call an urgent meeting between all the role-players involved in the social grants crisis to find a solution to this crisis. The Minister must now step up to fix the mess left by her predecessor, Bathabile “Dodging” Dlamini.
Instead of politicking with the livelihoods of the 17 million poor South Africans who depend on social grants every month, the DA urges the Minister to make the vulnerable the first priority of government.

DA calls for urgent sitting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Social Security as 1 April deadline approaches

Please find attached soundbites in isiZulu and English by DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP.
The latest release of a report by the panel of experts appointed to oversee SASSA’s readiness to take over the distribution of social grants paints an alarming picture of chaos and confusion at the agency.
With little over a month left until the South African Post Office (SAPO) is set to take over the distribution of social grants on 1 April 2018, there are still more questions than answers.
The DA will now write to the Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Comprehensive Social Security, Minister Jeff Radebe, to request that he convenes an urgent meeting of all the relevant stakeholders including CPS. The DA’s previous request to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, for such a meeting at Parliament, has gone unanswered.
In its report, the panel of experts have made damning revelations of a breakdown in the relationship between SAPO and SASSA. The report has also found that SASSA and SAPO’s obligation in terms of their service agreement are not being met and that parts of the service agreement will not be implemented or implementable on 1 April 2018.
Furthermore, the report has also found that CPS is reluctant to extend its illegal existing contract as requested by SASSA. With no current alternative to CPS and SASSA’s failure to find a second service provider, it is ultimately the grants recipients who will be left stranded should an urgent solution not be found.
Thanks to the poor planning and lack of urgency from SASSA, it is clear that we have another social grants crisis at hand.
The blame for the chaos at SASSA should be squarely placed at the feet of Minister Bathabile Dlamini – who has played a central part in this self-created crisis. The Minister seems to be bent on ensuring that CPS continues with the distribution of social grants, and has used every trick in the book to derail SAPO from taking over.
With rumours of a possible Cabinet reshuffle on the cards, Bathabile Dlamini should be the first one to get the boot. However, simply removing her is not enough, she must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
The DA also note that the Constitutional Court has granted CPS’s request to participate in SASSA’s future tender processes. Although CPS has been involved in dodgy dealings with SASSA and illegal deductions of grants, we must respect the Constitutional Court’s ruling and we hope that the tender process will be transparent and open.

The South African government has failed our children

The following speech was delivered today by DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP, during the debate on 16 Days of Activism For No Violence Against Women And Children in the National Assembly.
Honourable Speaker,
South Africa’s government has failed its children.
As we speak:

  • There are 11.9 million beneficiaries of child social grants;
  • Over 11 million children live in poverty on less than 923 per month;
  • 136 children died every month of complications arising from acute severe malnutrition in the last three years;
  • 8 million infants and adolescents still do not have access to the Child Support Grant;
  • One in three children are victims of sexual and physical abuse before they reach the age of 18; and
  • In KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, only 19% of child abuse cases were reported to police by social services.

Honourable speaker, it is quite clear that the government, through the failures of the Department of Social Development, is playing a key role in allowing the abuse of children to persist.
What the country is not aware of, is that the Department of Social Development and SASSA, led by their ‘Dodging’ Minister, are once again placing thousands of lives at risk, as our foster care system edges towards collapse.
Currently a High Court order, which dates back to a ruling in 2011 which allowed SASSA to pay foster care grants to beneficiaries when foster care placements lapse, will expire at the end of this year.
The court order, which was again extended in 2014, was meant to be a temporary arrangement that would allow SASSA enough time to fix the backlog clogging the foster care system. The Minister was meant to implement ‘comprehensive legal reform’ that would ease the process of reviewing foster care placement orders.
Yet, six years later, the backlog remains and there is still no finalised “comprehensive legal reform” as the court requested.
What there is, however, is growing uncertainty over what this may mean for the payout of the foster care grants.
The result is that more than 30 000 children under foster care are at risk of not receiving their grants come January 2018.
Once again, Honourable Speaker, it’s another day at SASSA, and it’s another grants crisis, proudly brought to you by Minister Dlamini.
This is the same Minister, who, while tasked with delivering grants to the 17 million of our poorest citizens, dodges accountability at every possible turn.
And while Dodging Dlamini escapes accountability in Parliament, she criss-crosses the country campaigning for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Instead of attending to the multiple crises her Department is facing.
It is the ANC that allows Dodging Dlamini to display her utter disdain for the 17 million South Africans who rely on social grants.  The ANC government only acknowledges a crisis when it is before the Courts, or, as we have seen with Life Esidimeni, when people die.
Those patients, like children and poor households, are the most vulnerable citizens, and it is the state’s responsibility to ensure that their constitutional rights are protected.
But what we have observed as a country, is that the rights of these citizens have been relegated to the periphery, while the ANC continues to self-destruct – dragging the country along with it.
Women and children bear the brunt of the scourge of poverty and inequality, and this makes them even more susceptible to abuse. Social Development should be at the forefront of the battle against women and child abuse, but the department has been rendered ineffective because the Minister fires any competent officials, whilst retaining those who are willing to do her bidding.
If the Department is to ever function in an efficient way, one in which R1.4 billion of taxpayers’ money will not be irregularly spent, it must be rid of those who are hell-bent on serving their own narrow interests at the expense of the poor.
As the Democratic Alliance, we are working flat out to ensure that the poor and most vulnerable in our society are given the opportunities they need to achieve a better life when we take over government in 2019.

Minister Dlamini in for a grilling from the DA in Parliament today

Please find attached IsiZulu and English soundbites by the DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP.
Today, the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, will be answering questions in Parliament and she must brace herself for a grilling from the DA.
The DA will not shy away from asking the Minister tough questions, as she has time and again proven that she simply does not care about the people of this country.
The DA will ask the Minister about the full details of the offer SASSA made to the South African Post Office for paying out of social grants and whether the Department of Social Development (DSD) has a strategy in place to address the lack of infrastructure development for rural offices of the DSD and SASSA?
The Minister has made a habit of playing the victim whenever she has to account to Parliament. She is not the victim here, the millions of South Africans she continues to fail are.
Minister Dlamini is once again trying to put our people’s grants in danger, because as we believe, just so the dodgy CPS contract can continue to distribute grants, for Dlamini’s own gain.
The DA will not stand for this and Dodging Dlamini must tell the nation why she is failing the people of our country.

Parasitic illegal deductions a sad reality for many grant recipients in the Eastern Cape

Please find attached a soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP. Below follows a summary from Ms Masango’s recent oversight visit to SASSA pay points and satellite offices in the Eastern Cape. She was joined by the DA Shadow MEC of Social Development in the Eastern Cape, Kobus Botha MPL, and the DA Member of the Eastern Cape Legislature, Veliswa Mvenya MPL.
This past weekend the DA went on a number of oversight visits to SASSA pay points and satellite offices in Tsolo and Butterworth in the Eastern Cape. These visits followed numerous accounts from concerned DA councillors who confirmed the dire state of SASSA offices, poor social services available to grant recipients and the fact that beneficiaries at times take home as little as R70 from their grants due to illegal deductions.
The DA will now submit a raft of Parliamentary questions to Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, to ask for details of the equipment available to SASSA officials which should ensure swift and effective service to grant recipients as well as information on why illegal deductions still continue.
Tsolo, 29 October 2017
The service office in Tsolo the DA had visited is in a dire condition. There are 18 social workers, who share one phone.  In one office there are five social workers, who share 3 computers which were not working when we were there.
The toilet doubles up as a kitchen and the public toilet is used as a document storeroom. Most of the files are on the floor and those that are in the cabinets are not closable or lockable. The office itself where client confidential files are kept cannot be locked. The morale at the office is very low.
At the SASSA office in Tsolo, beneficiaries don’t have any toilets.  Even the staff are sharing a temporary-looking ablution facility with the Home Affairs next door. This situation is said to have been like this since 2008.
SASSA workers report that the illegal deductions are still ongoing and they especially don’t know what to tell the elderly who sometimes get as little as R70 from a foster care grant of R920. Some old age grant recipients received R850 instead of R1610.  This parasitic practice is still continuing and nothing is being done about it.
Butterworth, 2 October 2017
The DA visited banks and ATM’s where many grant recipients receive their social grants. The DA also visited the NET1 Financial Services office which provides green cards and loans.  What was disturbing about this particular visit, was that the queue at the NET1 offices was longer than that of the banks and ATM.
This was because recipients have the green EasyPay Everywhere cards, from which money is deducted, and did not know they can refuse green cards in favour of the white SASSA cards.
The previous night, the DA went to the local hospital where recipients filled the ambulance waiting room to wait for 12:00 midnight to withdraw their money before the illegal deductions take place.  Also, this is according to the local councillors, because the SASSA schedule is not working for people who are in rural areas because they have no food and they know their money is in the banks already.
The continued illegal deductions are of grave concern to the DA. It is clear that the government is allowing entities like Net1 to punch holes into the safety net of the poor and needy, thus pushing them deeper into poverty and hopelessness.
The dire conditions office structures and poor services our people are subjected to is just further proof that Minister Bathabile Dlamini, the Department of Social Development (DSD) and SASSA has forgotten their mandate of providing relief to the 17 million often poor and vulnerable in our society.
But it is not only the recipients of service that are forgotten, in some of these rural areas, even the workers are forgotten.
The sad truth is that Minister Dlamini is failing the voiceless who she is mandated to help. She is so far removed from the reality and circumstances under which our people live and have no sense of mission for her work nor is she bothered about the plight of the people.
The DA has not forgotten about our people. We are fighting every day against the greed and corruption that has captured the ANC government and fighting to restore the dignity of our people.

Dlamini must explain R6 billion SASSA distribution price tag

Yesterday, in a rare appearance in Parliament, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini revealed that the price tag for SASSA to take over the distribution of social grants will cost the taxpayer R6 billion.
The DA will now submit parliamentary questions to get the exact details of how Dlamini arrived at this alarming figure.
Specifically, Dlamini must provide explicit detail on the following questions:

  • How did the Minister arrive at this R6 billion figure?
  • Did this price tag increase because SASSA was unready to distribute social grants at the 31 March 2017 deadline, which was a crisis manufactured by Dlamini?
  • What measures will the department take to ensure that its plan remains in line with the Public Finance Management Act, Act 1 of 1999?

The new R6 billion figure is absolutely staggering and raises yet more alarming questions about the DA’s long-held belief that Dlamini purposefully manufactured the social grants crisis to ensure that the status quo on the multi-billion rand social grant distribution system remains, including that CPS, continues to benefit.
Dlamini is infamous for her constant evasion of accountability, but the Minister should have no problem answering the DA’s questions truthfully and on time if she has nothing to hide.
After the President’s disastrous midnight cabinet reshuffle, Dlamini somehow managed to evade the chop, this despite having so blatantly played political games with the livelihoods of 17 million South Africans.
Dlamini’s department deals with millions of the poorest people in our society, and yet, in another example of the disdain she has for the poor, she saw fit to purchase a brand new luxury vehicle worth more than R1 million. Dlamini’s claim that buying an ultra-luxury vehicle was “unavoidable” is a disgrace in the face of growing poverty and unemployment in South Africa.
It is glaringly obvious that Dlamini loves feathering her nest with luxury cars and expensive hotel stays, whilst millions of our people live in absolute poverty.
The fact is that Dlamini is not fit to be a champion of the millions of vulnerable South Africans who rely on her to provide their safety net.

Social Grants Crisis: Dlamini misses ConCourt deadline

Today was the deadline for the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, to file an affidavit with the Constitutional Court in order to explain why she should not be joined in her personal capacity to the SASSA case, and why she should not pay the costs personally. In the cover of today’s cabinet reshuffle crisis, Bathabile has failed to meet that deadline.
Once again, Minister Dlamini has shown her contempt for the authority of the courts and indeed for the responsibility that she had over the social grant crisis which put at risk 17 million vulnerable South Africans.
The DA has long held that Dlamini purposely bungled the entire process of procuring an alternative service provider in order to ensure the continuation of the unlawful contract between SASSA and CPS.
In fact, the Minister was so desperate for this contract to continue, she completely ignored the fact that CPS was illegally deducting money from the social grants of beneficiaries.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng stated that Dlamini’s handling of this issue “can only be characterised as an absolute incompetence”. However, the President does not care, and instead he has proven that he rewards those who are ineffective and “incompetent”.
Despite all of the “isiphithiphithi” the President has created, we have not forgotten about Minister Dlamini, and the DA will continue to ensure that she is held accountable.