Dlamini's social grant meeting no-show 'shameful' - DA

2017-01-25 21:12
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (File, Beeld)

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (File, Beeld)

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Cape Town - It was “shameful” that Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini skipped a crucial meeting on Wednesday to discuss the looming "Sassa crisis" to attend to African National Congress business, the Democratic Alliance said.

The Inkatha Freedom Party said Dlamini’s no-show was a clear indication that the “looming national crisis” was of no interest to her and that she had no plan to mitigate the crisis.

Dlamini and SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) CEO Thokozani Magwaza were due to tell Parliament’s social development committee if they were ready to take over the nationwide social grants scheme on April 1.

Committee chairperson Rose Capa on Wednesday said the meeting was cancelled because she, Dlamini and Magwaza were attending an ANC lekgotla.

DA MP Bridget Masango claimed Dlamini had in fact actually flown to Ethiopia on ANC Women's League business. Dlamini is the ANCWL’s chairperson.

"It is shameful that Dlamini would rather attend to party business than make herself available for an important parliamentary committee meeting on the distribution of social grants by Sassa."

She said Sassa failed to answer 31 questions the DA submitted last week to prepare for Wednesday’s meeting.

"This is quite frankly a slap in the face of the millions of South Africans who rely on social assistance from the state to get by every day, and who are rightfully worried that they may be without support in less than three months."

READ: Critics 'naïve' on Sassa meeting cancellation - committee chair

Dlamini 'misled Parliament'

The IFP said Dlamini might have misled Parliament, after it was first told that the meeting was cancelled due to the ANC lekgotla.

"However, it now transpires that the minister might have misled Parliament and is in fact abroad, attending to ANC business," IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe said.

"Again, Minister Bathabile Dlamini has shown absolutely no commitment to the critical portfolio she has been entrusted with, and has instead again chosen ANC business over and above the interests of the most vulnerable sectors of our society."

Wednesday’s briefing would have been critical in assessing what would happen on April 1.

"The stark reality now is that on 1 April 2017, many South Africans who rely on a grant for their survival, face a very real possibility that they will not receive their grant payments."

Social development spokespersons Lumka Oliphant and Justice Malapane were both on leave and unavailable for comment.

Osbourne Masilela, of the department's director general's office, said on Tuesday he was not in a position to comment, and referred all questions to the portfolio committee.

Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said only the department could comment.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  ifp  |  bathabile dlamini  |  parliament 2017

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