Bathabile bunks Parly meetings

2017-05-07 06:59
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The spectre of the social grants controversy looms large over Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, who has been missing more often than not from Parliament’s committee meetings this year – in sharp contrast to her relatively better attendance record last year.

Since the reopening of Parliament in January, Dlamini and her deputy, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, have attended three meetings between the two of them of the nine they are expected to attend in Parliament this year.

The social grants payment debacle involving the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) burst into the open in January with questions over the validity of a contract to disburse grants to the country’s 17 million beneficiaries.

This week, Dlamini missed two meetings on two consecutive days where her department’s plans for the 2017/18 financial year and budget were to be discussed.

On Tuesday, the select committee on social services – a National Council of Provinces oversight committee – cancelled its meeting to protest the no-shows by Dlamini and her deputy.

It was not the first time the two had skipped this engagement. They were also absent for last year’s annual performance plan and budget meeting.

This week, ANC committee chairperson Landulile Dlamini sent a message to the minister, saying: “We will not proceed until she attends.”

The next day, Dlamini and Bogopane-Zulu again failed to attend the portfolio committee of the National Assembly for the same annual plan and budget presentations.

Dlamini was attending a Cabinet meeting, and there was no clarity on her deputy’s whereabouts.

President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet meets every second Wednesday, and Cabinet committee meetings take place on the Wednesdays in-between the full Cabinet meetings.

Social development committee MPs were having none of it.

They, too, had come under criticism for being lenient on the executive and even complicit in the grants payment crisis, which was averted by the courts.

“The issue we are going to discuss considering the last six months’ history [is critical]. The minister is accountable for this department, yet she is never here to answer questions,” said the DA’s Lindy Wilson.

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Liezl van der Merwe suggested the committee meet on weekends, if that meant the relevant people would attend.

Committee chairperson Zoleka Capa said the dates for the oversight meeting were known well in advance and an apology could have been sent beforehand, adding that Dlamini knew that the committee was expecting to get a full report from her on the outstanding Sassa issues.

Gaile Fullard, executive director of the Parliamentary Monitoring Group, said ministers’ attendance at portfolio committees, though not compulsory, should occur at least four times a year.

The People’s Assembly website, run by her group, has a new tool to monitor ministers’ attendance at parliamentary committee meetings. Their 2016 list shows that Dlamini was among the best attendees. Her attendance waned this year as Parliament finally demanded answers on the social grants saga.

Public accounts committee chairperson Themba Godi told City Press that they had written to Dlamini, inviting her, Sassa and her department to brief them on May 16 about their plans subsequent to the court ruling.

“They have less than a year to appoint a new company to distribute grants. We want to know what they have done up to now and how far the procurement process is. There will be a phase-in process, so they have to move fast to allow such a process to take place,” said Godi.

Read more on:    bathabile dlamini  |  parliament 2017  |  politics

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
Watch: Investing in the future through child development

An investment of R32-million into 11 early childhood development centres is changing the future for children in the Northern Cape.

Partner Content
What all investors should know about index investing

Index-linked investments are growing fast in popularity globally, and are growing in size and complexity too.

/World
 

For the love of Corgis!

WATCH: 35 Corgi's to make your day! If they’re good enough for the Queen of England they’re good enough for us.

 
 

Paws

Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.