Dlamini, Sassa deny missing second ConCourt deadline

2017-03-14 23:00
Sassa head office. (News24)

Sassa head office. (News24)

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Johannesburg - Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) say they did not miss their Tuesday 15:00 deadline to submit affidavits explaining why they did not answer the Constitutional Court's questions on time.

The court had sent Dlamini and the grants agency a set of stern questions on March 8. They were given a deadline of Monday 16:00 to make the submission.

Spokesperson Lumka Oliphant denied reports by various media houses that the parties missed the second deadline by 11 minutes on Tuesday afternoon.

"The Department of Social Development wishes to place it on record that Sassa did not miss the deadline set by the Constitutional Court today for the filing of the confirmatory affidavits as widely alleged in the media," she said.

Oliphant said Dlamini and then acting CEO of Sassa Wiseman Magasela had to confirm in separate affidavits to the Constitutional Court the condonation application they had made following their late filing of the responses to the court.

"Contrary to media reports, the affidavits were filed timeously and their copies were stamped by the clerk of the court and handed to the Sassa legal team," Oliphant said.

Earlier on Tuesday the court issued a new directive to Dlamini and Sassa on why they missed the deadline to respond to its questions.

The previous acting CEOs of Sassa Thamo Mzobe and Magasela and Dlamini were directed to file affidavits by 15:00 on Tuesday on why the directions by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng were not complied with, Mogoeng's spokeperson Nathi Mncube confirmed to News24.

Hard copies submitted on Tuesday

Dlamini and Sassa failed to meet the Monday 16:00 deadline to answer the court's questions about when Sassa knew it would not be able to take over the grants payments when its contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) expires on March 31.

The court also wanted to know which officials were aware of this.

The department instead filed electronic heads of arguments on Monday and a proposed draft order but did not file affidavits expected to indicate who should be liable for the crisis. The responses to the questions were subsequently filed, also electronically, after 22:00 on Monday night.

On Tuesday afternoon a News24 reporter who was at the office of the registrar witnessed two lawyers running into the court to submit two thick files believed to be Sassa's at 15:11.

The lawyers declined to confirm to journalists what papers they had just submitted. However, officials inside the registrar's office confirmed to journalists that the submissions were indeed from Sassa.

Oliphant later explained to News24 that the hard copies submitted on Tuesday afternoon were the documents that the court had expected on Monday afternoon, which had initially been filed electronically.

Although she could not say what time the responding affidavits were filed to the court, she maintained that they were filed on time and that they were each not longer than three pages long.

News24 is only aware of two affidavits which were submitted by Dlamini and Magasela. It was not immediately clear whether Mzobe's affidavit was submitted on time.

Read more on:    sassa  |  bathabile dlamini  |  social grants

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