Sassa finally in Parliament to address grants scheme concerns

2017-02-01 07:27
ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini. (Elizabeth Sejake, City Press)

ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini. (Elizabeth Sejake, City Press)

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Cape Town - The Social Security Agency of SA (Sassa) will finally appear in Parliament on Wednesday to update MPs on its readiness to take over the social grants scheme after its meeting was abruptly cancelled last week.

Sassa will appear along with the Department of Social Development to give a long overdue briefing on its compliance with the Constitutional Court's 2014 ruling that it take over the scheme.

Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi on Friday assured South Africans that the agency will be ready to handle the distribution of grants to 17 million beneficiaries in just under nine weeks' time.

"We want to assure the beneficiaries of social grants that definitely, on April 1, everybody will be getting their grants," Letsatsi said.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Sassa officials could not reassure the parliamentary portfolio committee about their readiness when they presented in November 2016.

The DA wrote to portfolio committee chairperson Rose Capa this week to demand that Dlamini be present at the meeting on Wednesday.

ANCWL over Parliament

"We are less than two months away from the expiry of the current service provider's contract and are nowhere near knowing where the department is in taking over the distribution of 17 million social grants," DA MP Bridget Masango said on Tuesday.

"Anything short of her full attendance will be a slap in the face of all those South Africans who live in poverty and rely heavily on social assistance from the state."

Opposition parties were angered last week when Dlamini cancelled her appearance in Parliament allegedly in favour of attending an ANC lekgotla.

Masango took exception with the cancellation after learning that Dlamini was actually in Addis Ababa on ANC Women's League business, and not at the lekgotla.

She has written Parliamentary questions to Dlamini asking how her trip to Ethiopia had been paid for.

Read more on:    sassa  |  da  |  ancwl  |  bathabile dlamini  |  social grants  |  parliament 2017

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