Let Gordhan take over Sassa grants crisis - DA

2017-03-01 17:10
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan (Matthew le Cordeur, Fin24)

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan (Matthew le Cordeur, Fin24)

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Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance has called for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to be fired and for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to take the reins in the social grants crisis.

DA MP Bridget Masango said on Thursday that the party did not trust Dlamini with the livelihoods of 17 million South Africans, and called on President Jacob Zuma to hand over the negotiations of the grants payment process to Gordhan.

"With only a month until the expiration of the Cash Paymaster Services contract... the eleventh hour withdrawal of Sassa’s Constitutional Court application by Minister Bathabile Dlamini is a clear display of her disdain for the law, and her firm commitment to disregard every piece of advice she has received from key government institutions and her legal counsel," Masango said.

"Is the Minister nervous of what could happen should the Constitutional Court make adverse comments on her conduct? Is she nervous of the possible consequences to her political future?

"And most importantly, what is going to happen to the 17 million South Africans who rely on social grants to stay alive?"

Section 97 of the Constitution allowed Zuma to give another minister the reins of a special project, she said.

She said Dlamini was no longer fit to head any governmental department and that Zuma should fire her with immediate effect.

Treasury has previously stated that it would not support an extension to the illegal contract with CPS, and suggested the department let the banks and the post office handle the grant distributions.

Dlamini rejected his proposal as impractical and "not thought through carefully".

Gordhan also previously said the Department of Social Development, and not his department, was legally instructed to address the matter by the Constitutional Court.

Dlamini skips meeting

Dlamini on Wednesday skipped yet another parliamentary committee meeting to discuss the impending Sassa grants crisis.

The social development portfolio committee hosted the South African Reserve Bank on Wednesday, to get an update on how it was helping Sassa's takeover of social grants payments.

Dlamini sent her apologies to acting chairperson Hope Malgas, saying she was attending the weekly Cabinet meeting, usually held on Wednesdays.

The director general of the Department of Social Development, Zane Dangor, was there on the department's behalf.

Dangor told journalists after the meeting that the department always intended to file a supplementary report with a statement of intent to the court, he said, and Dlamini supported that.

He added he did not know the details of why the application was withdrawn, and would consult with the department when he flies back to Pretoria.

He also said that the absence of current CEO Thokozani Magwaza has nothing to do with the botched application at the Constitutional Court.

As far as he knew, Magwaza was ill, and not suspended, as reported in the media, he told News24.

Read more on:    sassa  |  bathabile dlamini  |  pravin gordhan  |  cape town

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