Bathabile Dlamini survives the axe

2018-02-27 00:05
Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (Leon Sadiki, Gallo Images, City Press)

Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (Leon Sadiki, Gallo Images, City Press)

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Cape Town - Outgoing Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has lived to serve another day as a Cabinet minister, but it won't be as head of the department overseeing the nation's social grants scheme.

In a surprise move, the under-fire Dlamini was kept on to serve in President Cyril Ramaphosa's new Cabinet, which was announced on Monday, despite multiple failures to meet the SA Social Security Agency's (Sassa's) obligations to the Constitutional Court.

READ: Who is in and who is out: Ramaphosa's Cabinet reshuffle

Dlamini - who is also ANC Women's League president - was reshuffled to become the Minister for Women in the Presidency.

She swops portfolios directly with predecessor, Minister Susan Shabangu, who moves in the opposite direction to head up the Department of Social Development.

Her retention as a minister has been mooted as a strategy to keep the ANC Women's League satisfied, while the portfolio as a whole may be collapsed once Ramaphosa reconfigures the size of his Cabinet.

Dlamini has endured a torrid 18 months since the run-up to the first failure to meet the Constitutional Court deadline to find a new service provider for the social grants scheme in March last year.

She has garnered a reputation for missing parliamentary committee meetings last year, having skipped or excused herself for at least four portfolio committee meetings in Parliament in 2017, and was involved in public fallouts with her former director general Zane Dangor, former Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

READ: Treasury to review Sassa, Post Office deal points – Dlamini

She is currently the subject of an inquiry into whether she should be held personally liable for the social grants distribution crisis. Closing arguments will resume on March 19.

Her department also came under fire for paying nearly R150 000 for Dlamini to give an interview on the SABC in August.

And it hasn't stopped for the embattled ANCWL president. Just this week the SA Human Rights Commission subpoenaed her in relation to the Commission's National Investigative Hearing on the Status of Mental Health Care in the country.

The commission wants to compel Dlamini to make submissions to the hearings, having failed to respond to numerous requests.

Shabangu will now take over the department with the biggest budget in the fiscus, responsible for safeguarding over R150bn in social grants money, which increased following then finance minister Malusi Gigaba's budget speech last week.

Leadership of the Sassa issue though was transferred to an inter-ministerial committee in December, headed up by the minister of planning, monitoring and evaluation in the Presidency.

Minister Jeff Radebe held that position formerly, but was replaced on Monday by none other than ANC presidential runner-up Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Radebe moves to the energy ministry.

The inter-ministerial committee has just 33 days to ensure a smooth handover of the social grants scheme from current service provider Cash Paymaster Services to the South African Post Office by April 1.

Dlamini will no longer have any official involvement in the migration of the grants scheme.

"Bathabile" was trending at number 2 on Twitter at the time of writing, behind #CabinetReshuffle.

Read more on:    anc  |  bathabile dlamini  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  politics

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