Political parties, OUTA lash out at Dlamini

2017-03-05 18:54
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini (Netwerk24)

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg – Opposition parties on Sunday slammed Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini after she held a press conference over the SA Social Services Agency (Sassa) grants payments debacle.

Sassa has been mired in controversy over how 17 million South Africans will receive their social grants on and from April 1.

During Sunday's Sassa press briefing it emerged no contract had been signed with Cash Paymaster Service (CPS) to roll out grants in April and no agreement or plan was in place with treasury.

The DA, in a statement, expressed its "shock and anger" at Dlamini’s failure to resolve what is now being referred to as the Sassa "crisis".

The opposition party reiterated that it would proceed with its application in the Constitutional Court in order to ensure that "the ANC does not get away with taking grants away from the poor and vulnerable".

The application seeks to show Dlamini violated the Constitution and seek "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".

Congress of the People said that Dlamini was never suitable or fit to be appointed as a Cabinet Minister, slamming her for her "arrogant and defiant attitude".

They called out Dlamini because despite reassurances on her part that the social grants will be paid to beneficiaries on 1 April, she has still not answered who the payments will be administered by.

"If it is the CPS [then] it will be illegal and exactly what Treasury warned Dlamini about," Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said in a statement.

The party also said "the truth" will soon surface around the abrupt resignation of Social Development department director-general Zane Dangor.

‘Self-made’ crisis

National Secretary of the Young Communists League of South Africa Mluleki Dlelanga called on Dlamini to resign "because it is in the interests of the people of our country, in the interest of the most vulnerable groups – the women and the youth".

Dlelanga said this on Sunday afternoon at a media briefing at Cosatu house in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

Following rumours of a looming cabinet reshuffle, Dlelanga called on President Jacob Zuma to reach out to Dlamini to ask her to step down due to poor leadership.

"We are happy that today in the press conference convened by the minister, she assured the people that they must be confident and relax knowing that the money will be paid on the 1st of April," said Dlelanga.

He did, however, express his reservations about the delivery and called on the minister to apologise to the poor, to take responsibility, and "do the honourable thing by resigning with immediate effect".

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) also spoke out.

In a statement, Numsa's general secretary Irvin Jim said the debacle was "proof that the ANC government hates the poor and the working class of South Africa".

"The Department of Social Development which is tasked with taking care of the most vulnerable members of society is showing us that it simply doesn't care about the majority of the people in our country... The crisis is self-made and it seems clear to us as NUMSA that this was intentional," Jim said.

Ben Theron, portfolio director for civil organisation OUTA, called Dlamini’s briefing on Sunday "nothing short of a disgrace".

"We expected the minister to share the status of negotiations, the costs and the process to transfer of responsibility from the contractor to the in-house disbursement management team," Theron said.  

"Instead, double-speak and denial was the order of the day, with no clarity about the sudden resignation of Mr Dangor, her Director General, or the absence of the Sassa CEO at the briefing," Theron said.

Read more on:    cope  |  da  |  outa  |  bathabile dlamini  |  sassa  |  social grants

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