'Black Monday' vs 'Black Label' - Dlamini and MPs exchange barbs

2017-11-01 20:24
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (Screengrab via YouTube)

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (Screengrab via YouTube)

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Cape Town - Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini and various opposition MPs exchanged some heated and humourous jibes in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Dlamini was one of a few social cluster ministers due to answer questions from MPs on the work of their portfolios. Dlamini received no joy from opposition MPs throughout.

During a question on the current impasse between Sassa and the Post Office, the Democratic Alliance caucus started a round of heckling, causing Dlamini to pause.

"They are full of Black Monday there," she responded, in a supposed reference to allegations of racism at marches around the country on Monday.

"[You're] full of Black Label!" a Democratic Alliance MP countered.

READ: Ramaphosa says not his job to keep Dlamini accountable

Dlamini was asked by IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe what Sassa's state of readiness was in migrating the social grants scheme by the required deadline, and who was guiding the process.

"CPS!" Democratic Alliance deputy chief whip Mike Waters shouted.

"You're not going to blackmail me here with that," she said, before proceeding.

She continued to speak about the events that led up to where they were currently at, which led her to run out of time and left Van der Merwe's question unanswered.

"Your time has expired minister," said deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli.

"Your time has long expired!" DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard shouted.

'Will you resign?'

Van der Merwe then asked Dlamini to confirm that current invalid service provider CPS will be out of the grants scheme by April 1, 2018, and if not, whether she would resign.

But Dlamini did not answer the question and instead, accused Van der Merwe and other MPs of trying to "interfere" in procurement processes, saying that they were "conniving".

"You came here for other reasons," she accused.

Van der Merwe hit back on a point of order and said Dlamini was misleading the House.

"We have never asked for procurement documents," Van der Merwe rebuffed. "We've only demanded that the minister do her job."

'I'll find myself in prison'

Dlamini argued that the deadlock with the Post Office was created only because they were following the Constitutional Court's order.

They had to follow strict procurement procedures, rather than simply signing an inter-government agreement.

"Because of wrong decisions, you push in committees and behave as if you're angels and innocent," she accused.

"We want people to leave us to do our job. We do not want them to do our job on our behalf. They must not interfere."

She said MPs should rather write her an instruction letter next time, that way she doesn't break the law in following procedure.

"[If I do it your way] ...the next thing that will happen, I will find myself in prison!" she charged.

Opposition MPs then broke into sarcastic applause as she sat down, seemingly agreeing with the sentiment.

'Take Zuma, Duduzane with you'

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Mzingisi Dlamini later said he welcomed Dlamini anticipating that she would go to jail, adding that "take President [Jacob] Zuma and Duduzane with you".

DA MP Bridget Masango had asked her why she was ignoring the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) report into the Post Office's fitness to aid the grants system. Masango said the CSIR report did not preclude the Post Office from helping with banking services.

Dlamini told Masango she had not consulted the report properly and told her to "go and get the facts".

"Resign," DA MPs shouted as she sat down.

She revealed earlier in the session that the National Treasury has agreed to review all the points leading up to the current impasse with the Post Office.

Read more on:    sassa  |  mike waters  |  bathabile dlamini

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