Cape Town – There were no calls in Cabinet for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s head to roll, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Thursday.
The minister refused to be drawn on the discussions, as they were private, he said.
While the ministerial task team will be reviewing the South African Social Security Agency's (Sassa) conduct on the actions and inactions surrounding the payment of grants, Dlamini’s conduct is not in the spotlight.
Briefing media on Thursday following a Cabinet meeting, Radebe ducked and dived from questions about Dlamini’s responsibility in the crisis, and said this could only be discussed later.
"Is absolute incompetence a prerequisite for being in Cabinet?" he was asked.
"The issue of responsibility will only come at a later stage when the ministerial task team has looked at all issues surrounding the matter. Those recommendations will be made at an appropriate time," he replied.
He would not say if there was a crisis, or just how much collective responsibility was being taken for this "situation".
The group of ministers would also look at reviewing the conduct of Sassa, especially in relation to its administrative capacity.
The matter of responsibility, he said again and again, had not come up.
Dlamini on task team
"It will be part of the deliberations of this task team," he said.
The task team includes ministers in social development, finance, science and technology, home affairs, state security, and telecommunications and postal services.
And there was nothing wrong with the minister in question being part of the task team that would eventually decide if she bore responsibility for the debacle, Radebe said.
"There is no conflict of interest here," Radebe said.
It was important that Dlamini be part of the team, he said, as she had the most information.
The ministerial task team would develop a contingency plan for the payment of grants.
Radebe said the timeframes of the task team were quite urgent, but that their main concern right now was for grants to be paid on April 1.
"We cannot afford a situation where the poor don’t get these grants."
They were awaiting the Constitutional Court decision, he said, and only then would they be able to give a more detailed plan of action.