ConCourt must determine who slept on the job - Zizi Kodwa

2017-03-15 17:25
Zizi Kodwa (Herman Verwey, Netwerk24)

Zizi Kodwa (Herman Verwey, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court must determine who slept on the job, African National Congress national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said from the side-lines of the Sassa court case on Wednesday.

Kodwa broke the ANC's noticeable silence over the grants payment crisis.

The ConCourt is currently hearing an application by Black Sash for the court to exercise oversight over the process to find a new social grants payment provider.

Also read: No explanation for Sassa, Dlamini's 'incompetence' - Mogoeng

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has so far failed to provide details about the proposed extension of the invalid grants distribution contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

"The question which the court must determine is who slept on the job," Kodwa said.

When asked if Dlamini should be held responsible for the crisis at Sassa, Kodwa said many players were involved and the public should not pre-empt the court's decisions.

"The fundamental question which this court cannot answer is: What did we do or what did we not do to have arrived at this precipitous and perpendicular point? That is the question the leadership must ask," he said.

Kodwa said the South African Social Services Agency (Sassa) debacle could have been handled sooner and within the confines of the law.

"The important question for the leadership in government and within the State [is] what did we do or didn't do to arrive at this precipitous and perpendicular point," asked ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

Political pressure has been increasing on Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini with opposition parties and other organisations calling for her to resign or be fired. 

Also read: Dlamini failed beneficiaries, court hears

On Sunday when the ANC launched its policy discussion papers it did not comment on the pending crisis despite questions from the media. 

In 2014 the Constitutional Court ruled that the contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) was illegal and invalid. It suspended the order of invalidity until March 31 when the contract expires.

In 2015 the grants agency told the court that it would take over the payment of grants after its tender process failed to attract compliant service providers.

It is unclear how 17 million grant beneficiaries will be paid on April 1 after negotiations with CPS were halted by a ministerial task team which rejected an agreement reached in principle by Sassa and CPS.

"This issue could have and should have been dealt with much better early [on], within the law," Kodwa told News24.

Dlamini and Sassa's legal team were asked by the Constitutional Court justices why they failed to inform the court timeously that they would not be able to take over the payment of grants. They had received legal opinion to approach the court in terms of their predicament last year, but only reported to the court early this year.

The ANC said it is concerned that the situation has now created unnecessary panic and anxiety among the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society.

"President [Jacob] Zuma and the minister of finance have assured all social grant beneficiaries that they will be paid on April 1 and there is sufficient money," said Kodwa.

Read more on:    sassa  |  anc  |  bathabile dlamini  |  zizi kodwa  |  social grants  |  judiciary

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