DA requests urgent meeting with SASSA CEO on why social grant recipients were turned away

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Acting South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) CEO, Abraham Mahlangu, to request an urgent meeting on why qualifying beneficiaries have been turned away from SASSA offices when trying to apply for their grants.

The DA has received many calls, messages and emails from beneficiaries who have been denied access to social grants because SASSA cannot capture biometric applications.

Some people have waited since June to access their grants.

There is already a significant backlog in the capturing of data which could reach crisis levels by the end of September.

SASSA’s Roodepoort branch and many others across the country are allegedly not accepting new applications because of problems with their biometric systems and recipients were reportedly told their applications cannot be backdated.

For millions of South Africans, social grants are the only source of income.

Children, the elderly and the disabled are especially vulnerable and it appears that there is still no plan to ensure they can apply for grants and receive their grants on time.

That qualifying beneficiaries are denied the opportunity to register and receive social grants means the difference between putting food on the table or going hungry.

The DA will ensure that we get answers from SASSA about their failure to give beneficiaries the money they are entitled to as well as their failure to assist them as required.

Treasury must intervene in SASSA disaster

The DA notes with concern that the Minister of Social Development, Susan Shabangu, has suspended efforts by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to find a new service provider for the cash-payments portion of the social grants.

Grant recipients have been held hostage by the Department of Social Development for too long. The latest decision by the Minister follows a disastrous tenure by former Minister Bathabile Dlamini who single-handedly, on more than one occasion, forced the Constitutional Court to extend an invalid contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). The depth of the maladministration and institutional corruption left by Bathabile Dlamini knows no bounds and it is evident that Minister Shabangu is out of her depth in dealing with the destruction and chaos in the Department.

The latest development will, in all likelihood, delay the appointment of a new fully operational cash-provider by the end of September 2018. This flows from the Minister stating in court papers that the tender process was technically flawed and had to be restarted.

It was further revealed that the terms of reference for the tender had been returned to SASSA’s bid-specifications committee on three occasions to make amendments and to seek clarity. It is very suspicious and shocking that when it came to the actual tender there was a lack of clarity and inadequate information, specifically around the number of beneficiaries to receive services, making it impossible for bidders to enter a successful bid.

It is unthinkable that a Department that cannot even draft a proper tender document is responsible for ensuring that 17 million people receive their grants every month. It is clear that the Minister of Social Development, like her predecessor, has no respect for the highest court in the country, and that she and her Department are not capable of effectively managing the procurement process. We therefore reiterate our calls for Treasury to take over the payment function from SASSA, as the agency has become compromised under the toxic rule of the ANC.

The Constitutional Court has for far too long been a playground for Ministers who have no regard for the law or the vulnerable South Africans that depend on social grants.

The Minister continues to rely on self-made emergencies to keep the CPS contract in place, holding social grant beneficiaries to ransom. It is crucial that Treasury intervenes before another deadline is missed and the Constitutional Court is forced to yet again extend the invalid and dubious contract with CPS.

SASSA: A countdown to crisis again

The no-show by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) at the meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development today simply beggars belief.
SASSA was meant to give update on the implementation of the Constitutional Court order, which required SASSA to provide regular updates, at least once a month, about its plan to replace the invalid CPS contract to distribute social grants to millions of vulnerable South Africans.
SASSA apparently has nothing to report back, despite the last report to the committee being a full six weeks ago.
The DA, therefore, welcomes that the Chairperson of the Committee, Rose Capa, has agreed to issue a formal summons to ensure that SASSA show-up and fully account for what they have been doing for the last six weeks.
Should the summons be ignored, they will be “liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to both the fine and the imprisonment” in accordance with the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act
Even if they claim they have nothing to report, they must fully account for why it is they have not made any progress in almost two months.
Millions of poor and vulnerable South Africans look to SASSA to ensure that there is a workable plan for the distribution of social grants come the end of the year. It is a slap in the face to these recipients who depend on social grants to survive month to month that SASSA failed to show up.
SASSA must be summoned to account urgently and should not be allowed to shirk their responsibility.

No, We Won’t Stop Fighting for a Better Parliament

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen MP, during the Budget Vote on Parliament.
House Chairperson,
A few weeks ago, as the Speaker was beating a hasty retreat from the newly constituted Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament (JSCFMP), she had an emotional outburst where she asked me a very interesting question. She said, and I quote, “don’t you ever get tired of fighting?”
Given events at the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) over the weekend, perhaps the Speaker should rather have been directing that question to colleagues in her own party!
Nevertheless, this weekend’s meeting of the NEC and the release of emails confirm the fact that President Zuma’s cabinet is captured by an extensive network of parasitic vampires who are sucking the very lifeblood from our state and the State-Owned Entities.
They have set up a parallel government that operates through mutually nefarious means and evades all forms of accountability through its tentacles that extend all the way from the Union Buildings, right through organs of state like the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and reach deep down into local municipalities.
Two things have emerged, as clear as daylight, from this weekend’s events:
1. South Africa doesn’t have a Jacob Zuma problem, it has an ANC problem – the rot in the ANC goes deep and wide.
2. The ANC knows what the problem is; their alliance partners know what the problem is (which is why Mr Zuma is no longer welcome at their events); South Africans know what the problem is; religious bodies know what the problem is (which is why they have taken to the streets in record numbers not seen since the advent of democracy); and those commentators and ANC members who keep holding out for the “self-correction” are going to grow old waiting for something they will never see. The ANC is incapable of self-correction and it will be up to the voters to force the spring of correction through the ballot box.
And that is why Parliament cannot continue to turn a half glance to the seriousness of the crisis our nation faces through capture of our state. This is exactly why the Leader of the Opposition has proposed that this House establishes an ad hoc committee to probe the extent of state capture.
Witnesses must be subpoenaed, documents must be demanded and those Ministers implicated must face full and proper enquiry by this House. The Constitution gave us the power to do this and we must exercise those powers on behalf of the people to get to the bottom of this scourge and expose and remove this network, root and branch, from our government, State-Owned Entities and wherever it has planted its poisonous roots.
Simply chipping away in individual committees may expose some of the branches but will not deal with the rotten root. That will require a broad and overreaching enquiry that will be able to get a full picture of the extent of the problem. Parliament must do the job that the framers of our constitution intended it to do.
What should a Parliament do?
The Constitution is explicit on what we should be doing as Parliament and section 42(3) sets out very simply the four things we must do:
1. Choose a President;
2. Providing a national forum for the public consideration of issues;
3. Pass legislation;
4. Scrutinize and oversee executive action.
Now you can have all the plans, protocols, intentions and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you like, and we have listened to the Speaker rattling off how well she thinks Parliament is doing. But the reality is, once all the management jargon has been stripped away, if we are not meeting these four simple Constitutional expectations then we are not performing our job. They are the core functions of Parliament and we should be measured by them. So how are we doing on these?
Choosing a president:
Well, the less said about this the better. The truth is that we have a President who has been found by the Constitutional Court to have failed to uphold his oath of office, violated the very Constitution he was supposed to protect, and who continues to ride roughshod over democratic institutions and process.
We elected him in this House and we should have had the courage to remove him when he failed us and the people of South Africa. Yet we allow him to continue in office. The Ipsos poll released today showed that 62% of ANC voters disapprove of Mr Zuma and his approval rating is the lowest of any of the country’s democratically elected presidents. Clearly, South Africans, particularly the 9 million unemployed, don’t think too highly of this Parliament’s performance on this score.
Providing a national forum for the public consideration of issues:
Again, hardly a stellar performance here. The freedom of speech in this House, bequeathed to us by the Constitution no less and which should be a right protected with all the might our presiding officers can muster, is being eroded and undermined every day.
Simple terms, quite ordinarily used in Parliaments and debating forums around the world, have been banned. Members’ rights to say the things that need to be said, particularly members of the opposition, are restricted through a stranglehold of insecure presiding officers. Time and again the members of this House have had to approach the courts to get them to uphold this right, yet time and again the rights are eroded.
Just last week, opposition Members were prevented from calling a minister “an invisible minister”. A Parliament where Members, as public representatives, cannot raise matters in a forthright and robust manner is not good for democracy and not worthy of the name.
Passing legislation:
This should be one of the most important functions performed by us and, given how long we have been doing it, something which should be improving and not declining. Yet on a regular and steady basis legislation passed in this house is struck down by the courts as invalid or unconstitutional.
Shoddy, job-wrecking legislation is pushed through and, despite their obvious failings and legal problems, the ANC cannot bring themselves to correct the errors and omissions. Here in the House they stubbornly march on incorrect paths passing legislation (that’s when they are actually able to get their MPs to pitch for work on the day!) and are then repeatedly beaten in court.
The Speaker has had a lot today to say on empowering and capacitating MPs to do their job. It would be nice if we could just start by making sure that we have enough researchers, legal advisors and content advisors at a committee level so we can properly scrutinise the legislation that the Executive send to us and play the role of proper legislators.
Scrutinising and overseeing Executive action:
Anybody who thinks that this 5th Parliament has met its expectations in this regards must have been living on another planet. This is probably the requirement where we have witnessed the worst failures. At every turn the Executive has been protected from proper accountability and scrutiny.
The Nkandla Report should have been the massive wake-up call that this Parliament needed to overhaul and reconsider how we hold the executive accountable. There was a single tick-box meeting after this devastating indictment on this Parliament’s failure and zero action arising from it. The protection and shielding of the executive has simply continued.
Nowhere is this more evident than the manner in which the Executive is protected by Speaker Mbete during oral question sessions. Bearing in mind that these are the only unscripted exchanges where MPs can truly hold the Executive accountable, the Speaker always defaults to protecting the Executive from difficult and probing questions posed by MPs.
It is for this reason that the SABC was virtually brought to its knees before Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, who belatedly felt the firm hand of parliamentary accountability in the ad hoc committee probing the SABC. For an entire year before this, Muthambi was allowed to regularly evade parliamentary accountability with impunity by simply not answering written and oral questions by opposition MPs or by not showing up. There were never any consequences
We witnessed the same pattern with the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, who was also consistently aided and abetted by the Speaker to avoid answering the tough questions relating to the impending South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grants crisis. Minister Dlamini was allowed to regularly mislead the House over her Department’s readiness to take over social grant payments on 1 April 2017.
When opposition MPs challenged these glaring factual inaccuracies in the House, the Speaker was the first to rush to Dlamini’s defense.
When the anatomy of both these crises is properly examined it is plain to see that both could have been avoided had Parliament been doing its job, without fear and favour, and had those Members who take their role seriously been protected in performing their role by a Speaker who actually placed the institution above her organisation.
South Africa requires a functioning and vibrant Parliament if our multi-party democracy is to survive. It also requires a Parliament that is unafraid of holding the Executive accountable as the Constitution prescribes.
The Speaker
Given the myriad of institutional failings, the Speaker’s dismal record of court losses, the daily own goals and organisational foul-ups, one could be forgiven for thinking there was not enough institutional support for the office. Quite the opposite actually, the Speaker has over 42 employees in her organogram costing over R37 million.
I was particularly interested to note that there is an entire office of nine full-time employees who form the so-called Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy, which includes a Director who rakes in over R1.5 million per annum, a Constitutional and legal advice specialist earning R1.4 million, two legal assistants and a manager.
All this and yet when I made a simple inquiry of the Speaker about some outstanding reports from Chapter 9 institutions I received a letter confirming there were none. Surprise, surprise, less than one week later the reports were magically ATC’d. You have an entire office of people whose full time job it is to liaise and monitor with chapter nine institutions and they couldn’t even pick this up. What a disgrace.
The rules of the National Assembly, in acknowledging the key importance of impartiality, directs the Speaker to conduct herself impartially. Rule 26(4) states that “the Speaker must act fairly and impartially and apply the rules with due regard to ensuring the participation of members of all parties in a manner consistent with democracy”. Whenever the Speaker acts in a way that is partisan, biased or conducts herself in a manner that favours a single political agenda, she breaks that covenant.
So it may be convenient to “not hear” when a member is being sworn at under your nose (despite the fact that the whole nation heard it) or refuse to take action when a female member of the opposition is called a “straatmeid” or become conveniently deaf when Mr Dicks shouts out “rented Darkie”. But every time you do this, Speaker, it undermines the very rules that you are tasked with upholding and enforcing. You do this at your own peril and by extension open yourself up to attack and also place the consistent enforceability of the rules of the National Assembly at great risk.
The Secretary to Parliament
Parliament is much more than just bricks and mortar, it is a living institution made up of people. It cannot function without them and today I want to pay special tribute to the hard-working men and women that make up our staff. I want to say to those that really care about this institution and are invested in its success that your work, under difficult circumstances, is greatly appreciated.
And that’s why I am filled with deep sadness when I see the way that many of you are disrespected, targeted and treated like criminals, sidelined and marginalised, threatened or intimidated by the Secretary to Parliament. Since Mr Mgidlana’s arrival in our Parliament there has been a rapid decline in industrial relations and for many this is not a happy place to work.
On top of this the staff have now received notice that there will be no pay increases this year because there is not enough money. Given inflation and rising cost-of-living, this essentially amounts to a decrease.
It never ceases to amaze me that when it comes to the luxuries there is never a problem finding money. Take for example the international travel of the secretary to Parliament. Given the amount of international travel he does I sometimes think he believes he is the secretary to the United Nations, not the secretary to the Parliament of South Africa. In March last year he spent seven nights in a Lusaka Hotel at R21 000 a night, and enjoyed a rented limousine that cost R800 per hour, adding up to some R37 000 for the duration of his stay. We have, through the JSCFMP, asked for a full breakdown of all international travel costs by the Secretary.
This is of course on top of the blue light brigades, and VIP European and international travel. It seems when it comes to the Secretary to Parliament there is no destination too far or conference to obscure that he isn’t ready to pack his bags for. Despite his multi-million rand salary he has added insult to injury by awarding himself a bursary. Why does somebody who earns what he does require a bursary? There must be countless of our employees who are more deserving and more appropriate recipients.
I would also be remiss if I were not to express concern at the spate of new appointments at a senior management level. It is very clear that a determined and unashamed cadre deployment strategy is at play. How else would somebody like the deeply partisan former ANC spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, simply drift through the swing doors, suddenly be appointed as the spokesperson for a multi-party, non-partisan institution like Parliament. The employment procedures were rigged and subverted to make sure that the ANC’s dark arts practitioner could get work. He has wasted no time in proving his critics right by turning the Parliamentary media operation into an extension of the ANC attack machine.
I also suppose that we shouldn’t expect any different when the Secretary himself cannot distinguish his role between the Party and the Institution, which is why he sees no problem attending ANC speakers’ forums at Luthuli House to carry out party business. Of course, “Goebbels” Mathopo promptly tried to spin the Secretary as this non-partisan who attends to all party caucuses. I bet there is not a single other party caucus or training that has been graced by his presence. I’m going to investigate who paid for those flights and accommodation costs to attend this meeting. I have a sneaking suspicion what the answer will be.
How funny then that Mgidlana punts the recently launched “new organisational values”, values which include professionalism, integrity, accountability, openness and teamwork, when he and his closest affiliates practice none of these.
Take for example how “special bid adjudication committees” are set up where the Secretary appoints himself to serve despite the fact that the supply chain regulations do not provide for this and where the Secretary is supposed to act as the adjudicator, essentially being both player and referee. We believe that this is a serious breach of the Supply Chain Management (SCM) regulations and the Financial Management of Parliament and Legislatures Act (FMPPLA). We have further concerns about the process used by the Secretary to simply write off fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
It’s clear that the secretary wants to deal with the deficit by making the staff pay for it through denying them bonuses, which they have worked hard for, and by retrenching those staff members who do not bend to his whims. I have a message for those staff members to stand firm. The time is fast approaching when this Parliament will be under new management and we can turn it into a world-class operation by truly working together for the betterment of this special institution.
We can have a functioning and effective Parliament. It’s going to require leaders both political and administrative who put the needs of this institution first, ahead of self-interest, ahead of party interest.
We can truly be an institution that represents our people, their hopes, their concerns, their needs and aspirations, but that means we must always put the people first, ahead of selfish interests and narrow partisanship.
We believe passionately in this institution. We believe that when Parliament works, South Africa works and we must, as an institution, strive harder every single day to live up to the expectations placed upon us by the framers of the Constitution and the people of this great nation.
And so, back to the beginning if I may. Madam Speaker, the answer to your question is an emphatic no!
No, I will never get tired of fighting for a Parliament that does what it is supposed to do.
No, I will never get tired of fighting for the 9 million unemployed South Africans who have suffered through the policies of the Zuma administration.
No, I will never get tired of fighting for greater executive accountability from the President and his cabinet.
And most of all no, I will never get tired of fighting to hold you accountable, and for you to just do your job as the head of this institution.

Minister Dlamini cannot be trusted with the money for the poor

Note to Editors: The following speech is under embargo until delivery. The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP, during the Budget Vote on Social Development.
The budget vote we are debating today is meant to facilitate the Social Development Department’s commitment to social transformation.
The Department continues to state that it “endeavours to create a better life for the poor, vulnerable and excluded people in our society”.
But recent, almost unbelievable, developments in this Department stand in stark contradiction to this noble commitment and endeavour.
And the actions and behaviour of the Minister whose budget we are expected to support today show no commitment to these goals at all.
This is the same Minister – tasked with protecting the poorest of the poor – whose preferred place of residence is the Oyster Box Hotel. Yet, she insists that South Africans can survive on R753 a month.
As South Africans we need to take a closer look at the Minister in charge of this budget and honestly ask ourselves whether we want to entrust her with a budget meant for poor, vulnerable and excluded South Africans?
This is the same Minister who stands at the helm of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) which has notched up more than R1 billion in irregular expenditure.
We need only to recall the run-up to the 31 March 2017 expiry date of the illegal and irregular contract between Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and SASSA, to be reminded of Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s rank negligence and her lack of empathy for her task as Minister.
The DA consistently called for action or at least clarity on what plans the Department and SASSA had made to move the distribution of social grants inhouse – but our calls fell on defiant and disdainfully deaf ears.
When civil society voiced its displeasure with the Minister, she singlehandedly defied all logic and rule of law to ensure that the irregular and illegal contract was “extended” – despite earlier, on record assurances that SASSA would be prepared to take over the distribution of social grants on April 1st this year.
Leaders from various sectors – including church groups and NGOs – took turns to decry the Minister’s behaviour and her attitude towards the poor and vulnerable of our country.
While we still demand to know what the Minister’s well-paid work streams and their leaders have been doing all these years to institutionalise the system, we will be scrutinising the Department and SASSA’s progress towards its promise of taking over the payment of social grants on April 1st, 2018.
We are not holding our breath.
This Minister blocked efforts by SASSA officials to adhere to the Constitutional Court order three times, losing a Director General in the process.
Even her own staff can’t work with her, it seems.
Therefore, this Minister simply cannot be trusted with the budget for the Department.
The Minister’s inconsistency and chaotic style of leadership can be demonstrated in the much publicised R316 million that was paid to CPS in 2015 for “enrolling more grant recipients and beneficiaries than it claimed it was contracted to do”.
The Minister presided over the decision to oppose Corruption Watch’s application to review and set aside the decision to pay the money – only to decide recently to withdraw its costly opposition to the legal challenge. All of this at taxpayers’ expense.
This is the same Minister whose budget we are expected to support today.
On the other hand, there has been deafening silence from the Parliamentary leadership towards the DA’s call for an urgent Ad Hoc Committee to conduct a Full Parliamentary Inquiry into the Minister, her officials and CPS.
We have received assurance from the Public Protector’s Office that they will give us feedback as the investigation on allegations of the Minister’s violation of the Executive Member’s Ethics Code, unfolds.
While the SASSA fiasco was unfolding, sending ripples of panic throughout the sector and the country at large, the rest of the Department of Social Development was crumbling – with social services employees going on strike and scores of NGOs closing down due to the non-payment of their subsidies.
This has left many NGOs having to scrape their meagre reserves to provide services to the poor, the vulnerable and the excluded in our society.
How then, can we entrust a budget to a Minister who has virtually put the Department and its entities under administration.
In keeping with our commitment to care for the poor and vulnerable, the DA will not stop to make louder calls for the Minister of Social Development to step down, seeing that she mysteriously survived the midnight Cabinet reshuffle of President Zuma.
Which once again proved that the ANC protects ineffectual leaders and do not care for the interests of our people.
In 2019, the DA-led government will ensure that the Department of Social Development will prioritise the people whose care it was established for – the poor, vulnerable and the excluded of our society.
South Africa’s poor, vulnerable and excluded deserve better and the DA is the only political party that can ensure that all our people receive equal access to opportunities within a fair society.
Thank you.

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.

Social Grants Crisis: DA to proceed with our application in Constitutional Court

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.

DG resignation: Dlamini must go immediately

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.

Cabinet turns its back on 17 million vulnerable South Africans

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.

Minister Dlamini summoned to appear before SCOPA

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
Time: 09:00
Venue: V454; Fourth Floor, Old Assembly Building, Parliament