Corruption Watch joins calls for Bathabile Dlamini's dismissal

2017-03-02 23:37
ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini. (Elizabeth Sejake, City Press)

ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini. (Elizabeth Sejake, City Press)

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Johannesburg - Corruption Watch has called for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to be fired for the manner in which she is handling the matter of Sassa's readiness to distribute social grants to 17 million beneficiaries come April 1.

"This is arguably the most serious scandal to emerge in democratic South Africa. At stake are the lives of the most deprived people in South Africa," the anti-corruption organisation's director David Lewis said in a statement on Thursday.

"We are certain that those millions of people for whom the social grant is a life and death matter and who have been caused unimaginable anxiety by Dlamini's disgraceful conduct would welcome her immediate departure from public life."

Dlamini's spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said the minister would not engage Corruption Watch in the public domain and that she was accountable to the president, Cabinet and Parliament on all matters relating to her portfolio.

"They have not asked for an audience with Sassa or the Department of Social Development.

"March 1, beneficiaries of social grants received what constitutionally belongs to them and they will continue doing so on April 1. The minister...will report to Cabinet next week on all matters relating to Sassa," Oliphant said.

Outsourcing rejected

Lewis' statement came after Cosatu made a similar call earlier on Thursday during a media briefing at the labour federation's headquarters.

"Cosatu is appealing to the president to intervene and heads need to roll at Sassa," said Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali.

He said Dlamini and her team need to also take political responsibility for the crisis.

Cosatu said Dlamini and senior leaders at the department failed to act decisively with regards to irregular expenditure and tender processes. It also rejected suggestions that the department outsource the service.

"Outsourcing is wasteful, threatens jobs and makes public control and accountability impossible," he said.

He added that this provided a "breeding swamp" for corruption and nepotism to thrive.

Ntshalintshali said it was not easy for the federation to call for a minister to step down.

"But the fact that they did not tender properly for two years comes to only one conclusion for us," he said.

'Smell of corruption'

The ANC Women's League (ACNWL) called Cosatu's comments "irresponsible".

The league said it is irresponsible, for an alliance partner in particular, to make allegations that the relationship between Sassa and Cash Paymaster Services (which is currently handling the distribution of social grants) smells of corruption, buy not lay any charges. 

"[The] ANCWL respects the right to freedom of expression.... However, it is irresponsible in particular from an ANC Alliance partner to make allegations that the Sassa-CPS matter smells of corruption but not lay any corruption charge [with] the law enforcement agencies," the league's secretary general Meokgo Matuba said in a statement.

She said if the trade union federation could lay criminal charges against the CEOs of companies accused of colluding, what was stopping it from laying charges against those involved in the alleged corruption in the Sassa-CPS matter.

"It is the ANCWL's view that the grandstanding posture of claiming 'smell of corruption' is mainly driven by some in Cosatu leadership that have uncontrollable ambition to be deployed into ANC-led government positions which includes Cabinet positions in Parliament," Matuba said.

The league called on the federation to "isolate" any leaders it felt were causing disunity and using their positions to "advance a selfish narrow agenda".

"A healthy, strong, united, non-factional Cosatu is good for the ANC and its leagues. And it's good for the working class of our country," Matuba said.

Read more on:    bathabile dlamini  |  cosatu  |  sassa  |  corruption watch  |  ancwl

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