Dangor vs Dlamini: How delays were created in favour of CPS to continue dishing out grants

2018-02-02 16:42
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (Leon Sadiki, Gallo Images, City Press)

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

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Johannesburg - Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini created delays to allow Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to continue as its social grants distributor, former social development director general Zane Dangor said on Friday.

This was despite the Constitutional Court's finding in 2014 that the contract between CPS and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) had been illegal and invalid. The court had suspended the order of invalidity until March 31, 2017, to allow the department and Sassa to insource the administrative requirements to distribute grants.

Dangor was testifying on Friday at an inquiry at the Office of the Chief Justice, which is looking into Dlamini's personal role and liability in the social grants crisis in 2017.

READ: Bathabile Dlamini admits she failed to inform ConCourt promptly about Sassa deadline delay

The Constitutional Court appointed Judge Bernard Ngoepe to head the inquiry, which is investigating whether Dlamini should be held personally liable for the costs incurred during the Sassa payment crisis.

It is also looking into whether Dlamini sought the appointment of people to lead the various "work streams" to report directly to her.

Dangor accused Dlamini and her established work streams of having a "lack of urgency" when looking for legal solutions that would allow Sassa to transfer its grants payment system from CPS to a new service provider.

"The delay was to ensure that the current service provider continues, [despite] it being illegal," he said.

Dangor added that, by November 2016, "very little work was done by the work streams that could tell us that we would be ready in April [2017]".

He said that he advised the minister that failing to meet the Constitutional Court's deadline would be the biggest risk to her as a minister.

"It is potentially the biggest risk that could make or break her."

Former Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza had earlier denied that he was against the establishment of work streams, as Dlamini had claimed during her testimony last week.

ALSO READ: Dlamini 'was running Sassa like her own shop' - Magwaza

During cross examination, Magwaza said he was against work streams reporting to the minister directly.

He said it was clear, when he arrived as Sassa CEO in November 2016, that the social security agency would not be able to meet its deadline.

The three work streams - which were information and business management, banking services and project management, legislative and policy requirements management, and benefits and local economic development - appeared to exist in parallel with the function of the department and Sassa.

The leaders of these work streams had acted as advisors to Dlamini, before being appointed to lead the work streams - a move that was said to be illegal and irregular.

Further, the Constitutional Court ordered the inquiry to investigate the details of the appointments - when the individuals were appointed, who they reported to, and the details of the dates and contents of the work stream's reports to the minister.

Lastly, the inquiry is looking into why the minister did not disclose this information to the Constitutional Court.

Read more on:    sassa  |  cps  |  zane dangor  |  bathabile dlamini  |  johannesburg  |  politics  |  social grants

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