The Constitutional Court ruling that former Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, must pay 20% of the legal costs incurred relating to the social grants crisis shows that Dlamini cannot be trusted with championing the rights of the most vulnerable in society.
President Ramaphosa can no longer ignore this fact and would fire her immediately if he has any care for the millions of people she has already and will continue to endanger.
The Constitutional Court went so far as to say that Dlamini’s behaviour was “reckless and grossly negligent” and that a copy of the judgment should be sent to the National Director of Public Prosecutions to determine if Dodging Dlamini can be prosecuted for perjury if indeed she lied to the court.
Given this damning judgment, President Cyril Ramaphosa must fire Dlamini immediately from her position as Minister of Women in the Presidency. This appointment should not have happened in the first place given that she manufactured the social grants crisis, so she could benefit through the planned extension of the illegal CPS contract.
The ANC government protected and rewarded Dlamini for her role in the grants crisis, instead of holding her accountable. She was ultimately responsible for risking the livelihoods of 17 million South Africans who she should have protected, and her recklessness cannot be allowed to continue.
The ANC has protected its failing members for too long. South Africans can bring an end to this in the elections next year by voting for the DA.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the judgement in the Constitutional Court ordered Inquiry on whether Former Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, should be personally liable for the social grants crisis.
While the court has ruled that Dlamini is not personally liable, the fact remains that she presided over and was ultimately politically accountable for manufacturing a crisis that put the livelihoods of 17 million South Africans at risk.
The DA strongly believes that Dodging Dlamini purposefully created the crisis so she could benefit. It seemed that she was determined to deliberately derail the entire process of SASSA procuring an alternative service provider, all in a bid to ensure that the illegal CPS contract could be extended over and over again.
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. She should never have been appointed Minister of Women in the Presidency.
In a scathing report by Judge Ngoepe in May this year, Dlamini was described as an evasive and inconsistent witness. This is proof of her disdain for accountability and that she has no place as a member of Cabinet.
The DA does welcome that former SASSA Acting CEO, Pearl Bhengu, has been ordered to pay the legal costs of the 2018 application seeking the extension of the illegal Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract.
Given that Bengu is now the regional head of SASSA in KwaZulu-Natal, this judgment should see her fired immediately.
For too long the failing ANC has protected and even promoted those guilty of putting their own interests above the interest of the people of South Africa. Dodging Dlamini is the perfect example of this but it does not have to continue to be the case.
The DA is the only party that’s committed to cutting corruption and to giving our people dignified access to social services and we will continue to fight for a better country for all.
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.
The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Ms Rosemary Capa, to request that she invite Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, the South African Post Office (SAPO), SASSA and all the Ministers on the Inter-ministerial Committee on Social Services, to urgently appear before Parliament.
This follows fresh allegations from SAPO CEO, Mr Mark Barnes, accusing the Minister of being “nonresponsive and causing delays” in the SAPO’s process of taking over social grants payments from SASSA. Some of Barnes’ accusations include:
- “Delaying the design of the SASSA card and the specifications of the corporate holding and special disbursement accounts”;
- “Not cooperating in the finalisation of the biometric engine and integrated grant payment system”; and
- “Introducing a new workstream”.
These allegations do not surprise the DA, as we have long held that the Minister purposefully bungled SASSA’s efforts to procure an alternative service provider to CPS.
The Minister seems determined to cause yet another social grants crisis in what seems to be an attempt to ensure the continuation of the illegal CPS contract.
With just two months left, the Minister, SASSA and government should be ensuring that the SAPO is ready to pay out social grants, instead of frustrating SAPO’s readiness to take on this mammoth endeavour. 17 million South Africans depend on social grants, and we simply cannot afford any attempts to frustrate this process.
Parliament must now intervene to hold Minister Dlamini accountable and to ensure that the millions of beneficiaries who depend on social grants receive these on the 1st April 2018.
Today, the DA visited the social grants pay-point at the SASSA Service Office in Temba, Hammanskraal. The visit follows reports from DA councillors on the ground of how grant recipients in Temba are often subjected to hours in queues in order to gain access to their social grants.
Upon our arrival, a long queue had already been formed and it was raining. Since beneficiaries don’t have a proper waiting area at the pay-point, they are forced to bring their own chairs from home.
It was evident that CPS’s predatory ways are still in full swing. CPS continues to prey on grant recipients, by luring them into taking out insurance policies and ‘green cards’ that result in beneficiaries being vulnerable to illegal deductions.
There were also issues with the money dispensing machines which are old – causing money to not only jam in the machines but also beneficiaries’ money to come out short. Sadly, SASSA and CPS are aware but have done nothing about the situation.
The DA also met with SASSA staff at the service office, who complained about their dire working conditions. The office handles a traffic of approximately 100 beneficiaries a day but only have two CPS officials and 9 cubicles because it is classified as a “satellite” office.
This is clearly a dire state of affairs. And no-one in power cares to listen.
Temba, like many other rural communities, is crippled by high levels of unemployment and poverty. Their struggles often go unnoticed by the uncaring and out of touch Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini and the rest of the ANC government.
Minister Bathabile must take responsibility for her hand in the continued suffering of the poor and vulnerable. She once again was willing to put the social grants of millions of South Africans at risk for her own nefarious reasons.
With only 16 weeks until the 31 March 2018, deadline of the extended CPS contract is due to expire, we are still not clear who will assist the South African Post Office in distributing social grants as per the hybrid model proposed by the inter-ministerial committee.
The DA will continue to use its platform in Parliament to shed light on the plight of our people in Temba, or similar rural communities, until the Minister for once acts in the interests of the poor and vulnerable.
The agreement for the South African Post Office (SAPO) to assist SASSA in the distribution of social grants is meant to be signed today.
Previous experiences have taught us, however, that Minister Bathabile Dlamini cannot be trusted to act in the interest of the people of South Africa and the 17 million vulnerable citizens who rely on social grants. Dodging Dlamini has in fact done everything in her power to ensure the illegal contract with CPS is extended, in all likelihood for her own benefit.
It is with this in mind that the DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Rosemary Capa, to request that the SASSA-SAPO deal is immediately tabled in Parliament, in the interest of openness and transparency.
Minister Dlamini has been one of the biggest obstacles to this SASSA and SAPO deal. And she has seemingly gone out of her way to prevent SAPO from taking over the distribution of grants in order to either, continue with the illegal CPS contract, or because she has a new private company in mind.
Even National Treasury has pointed towards political interference in this entire procurement process.
The Minister’s seeming interference will no doubt have an impact on SAPO’s readiness to fully take over the distribution of social grants and given her interference, it is highly unlikely that SAPO will be ready to take over .
It is therefore vital that Parliament and the public understand the full scope of this agreement between SASSA and SAPO.
The Minister has seemed almost desperate to frustrate every effort to ensure that SAPO does not qualify as a suitable service provider.
President Zuma has allowed Dodging Dlamini to evade accountability for far too long despite the fact that she has continuously jeopardised the welfare of millions of South Africans. The DA will continue to push for her to be held accountable through all available mechanisms.
Minister Jeff Radebe’s announcement today that the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Social Security will have an agreement ready for SASSA and the South African Post Office (SAPO) for the distribution of social grants, does not mean that Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is off the hook.
Minister Radebe, at the Joint sitting of SCOPA and the Social Development Committee in Parliament, announced that an agreement between SASSA and SAPO is expected to be signed by next week Friday.
Although the DA is pleased that there might soon be an end to this SASSA social grants debacle, we must face the facts that Minister Dlamini once again tried to delay the process of SASSA finding a new distributor of social grants in order to keep the dodgy CPS contract.
The Minister failed on numerous occasions to resolve the crisis which ultimately led to joint committee meetings and the intervention of the IMC.
Minister Dlamini was clearly blocking every effort to ensure that SAPO did not qualify as a suitable service provider because she either wants the illegal CPS contract to continue or she has another provider in mind.
Minister Dlamini is unfit to lead the Department of Social Development and she must be held accountable for putting the country on the brink of another social grants crisis.
It is clear that SASSA also had a hand in this prolonged procurement process. The Panel of Experts appointed by the Constitutional Court to oversee this entire process found that SASSA failed to cooperate with experts. In a letter to the Committee, National Treasury stated that SASSA took more than two months to evaluate and adjudicate one proposal, this conclusion implies there was a deliberate delay from SASSA to work with SAPO.
Both Minister Dlamini and SASSA must account for their disgraceful behaviour of threatening the security of social grants for what is no doubt their own financial benefits.
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.
Please find attached soundbite in Zulu and English soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP.
The DA notes with concern Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s announcement today that the South African Post Office (SAPO) doesn’t meet the requirements to fully take over the distribution of social grants.
The announcement today is rather suspicious considering that SAPO has vehemently denied SASSA’s claims that they were not prepared to take over grant payments.
It is now clear that Minister Dlamini is yet again trying to manufacture another situation where the country is forced to accept another extension of the dodgy CPS contract.
Time is running out for SASSA to find a new service provider and it seems as though we are heading for another crisis.
Dodging Dlamini has continued to side-line Parliament throughout the entire procurement process, she has repeatedly failed to show up to account to the Portfolio Committee on Social Development.
Her actions are in violation of her oath of office and are in defiance of Constitutional Court orders.
Minister Dlamini is spectacularly out of order and this is sufficient grounds for her to be fired.
The DA will await Minister Dlamini at the meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development tomorrow where she can expect a grilling for failing to put the vulnerable people of our country first.
The sudden resignation of SASSA CEO, Thokozani Magwaza, is yet another damning indication of the toxic influence that Minister Bathabile Dlamini has on SASSA and the Department of Social Development (DSD).
Magwaza is now the second senior official, after former DSD DG, Zane Dangor, who was coerced into resigning after his family’s safety was threatened.
The DA is gravely concerned about Magwaza’s departure as he has played an important role in finding an alternative service provider in line with the Constitutional Court deadline of 31 March 2018.
The relationship between Dlamini and Magwaza was severely strained by Dlamini’s insistence to establishing the irregular workstreams and ensuring the continuation of the lucrative CPS contract.
The DA will now write to the Minister to demand that she provides the reasons as to why Magwaza resigned.
This entire debacle has been constructed by Dlamimi and is yet another example of the Minister’s dodgy way of running the Department to the detriment of millions of South Africans.