Social Grants Crisis: DA’s PAIA request confirms no new contract

The DA has received confirmation from the Department of Social Development to our application, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), confirming that no new contract exists between Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).
With less than 3 weeks until the invalid contract with CPS is set to expire, this confirmation is a damning indictment on the devastating inability by the Minister of Social Development, Bathbile Dlamini, to ensure that 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans will receive their grants next month.
The DA also notes, with grave concern, media reports that President Jacob Zuma’s special adviser, Michael Hulley, played a key role in ensuring that CPS keeps the contract. It is reported that Hulley held meetings with Dlamini and top SASSA officials to advise them to continue with the CPS contract. This may point to improper actions by him with the aim of thwarting a judgment of a Constitutional Court, and the DA will, therefore, report him to law society for investigation.
For some time the DA has been of the opinion that Dlamini has manufactured this crisis to ensure that CPS would be allowed to continue distributing the roughly R10 billion in social grants. It has been reported that Dlamini has rejected any payment options that do not involve CPS.
The vital question which must be asked is why is Dlamini so hell bent on making sure CPS continues to distribute grants?
It is blatantly obvious that Dlamini is not fit for office. Her utter disregard for the rule of law and the Constitutional Court’s that the current CPS contract is invalid, her continued unwillingness and inability to answer questions around the payment of grants after the 31 March, her failure to answer 93% of Parliamentary questions on this crisis and her palpable disdain for millions of South Africans should see her fired immediately.
With each passing day more evidence mounts against Dlamini. It is time that the livelihoods and well-being of millions of South Africans are put above narrow party political interests.
The DA will explore all avenues to ensure Dlamini and all other implicated individuals are held accountable for putting lives at risk.

Social Grants Crisis: DA calls for immediate Parliamentary enquiry into ‘Dodging Dlamini’

Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, has yet again dodged accountability before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) today, as she failed to adequately account for the social grant crisis and even tried to make an early exit.
The DA once again reiterates our call for a full Parliamentary enquiry into the social grants fiasco as Dlamini’s astounding inability to provide clear answers on the terms of the new CPS contract, the new cost, or on the resignation of the DG, cannot be allowed to stand. By not answering these key questions Dlamini wishes to escape accountability and the DA will not allow this.
Dodging accountability has now become the hallmark of the ANC and comes straight from the top as just yesterday President Zuma instructed officials to stop answering questions on SASSA.
The President’s lack of action and refusal to fire Dlamini is a clear indication of how little he and the ANC care for the millions of vulnerable South Africans who rely on social grants. It is, therefore, the responsibility of Parliament to investigate the social grants crisis to ensure that Minister Dlamini is held accountable.
The DA has already submitted an application in the Constitutional Court, to pursue accountability for those who have created this crisis and put 17 million South Africans at risk. 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.
The ANC cannot continue to protect ineffective ministers at the expense of poor South Africans. The DA also believe that Minister 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 and we are seeking a declaration from the court in this regard.
The DA will be marching, en masse, to Dlamini’s office on Friday, 10 March 2017, to send a clear message that her contempt for the poor will not be left unanswered.
The DA will continue to pursue all avenues possible to make sure that Dlamini and all those responsible for this crisis are held accountable to the full extent of the law.

SASSA crisis: DA files papers in Constitutional Court

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today filed its founding affidavit at the Constitutional Court seeking to be joined as an applicant in the matter currently before the court relating to SASSA’s abysmal failure to prepare for the payment of social grants to 17 million South Africans from 1 April 2017 onwards.
In just 29 days, the current agreement between SASSA and service provider NET1/CPS will come to an end. The dodgy contract with NET1/CPS was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2014, and for the last three years Minister Bathabile Dlamini has sat on her hands while the livelihoods of 17 million people hangs in the balance.
It is clear that the social grants crisis was avoidable and has been manufactured by the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini. The only logical conclusion is that this delay was deliberately manufactured for corrupt purposes. It is for this reason that the Constitutional Court – the highest court in the land – must get to the bottom of this issue.
As part of our application, we have sought a declaratory order from the court confirming that the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, 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.
As the minister does not consider herself to be subject to Parliamentary oversight, and in the absence of Presidential responsiveness, the DA has also requested that the Court direct the minister and CEO of the SASSA to file responding affidavits within 15 days of this order explaining, inter alia:

  • What steps were taken by them to comply with the court’s order of 17 April 2014;
  • When exactly they realised that SASSA would not be in a position to take over from CPS; and
  • Whether they at all times kept the NA informed of the true and correct status and progress of the issues raised concerning the payment of social grants after 1 April 2017.

Finally, the DA has applied to have the Court direct the CEO of SASSA to file a responding affidavit within 15 days of the order, in which he explains why he should not be held in contempt of the Court’s order of 17 April 2014.
Minister Dlamini’s catastrophic incompetence has placed the lives of 17 million South Africans in jeopardy, leaving them stranded and without a life line. SASSA’s current state of crisis is entirely self-engineered, and was easily avoided had the minister shown a shred of commitment to the needs of vulnerable grant dependents.
The DA will not rest until we have absolute clarity on who will take responsibility for paying social grants to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.