Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini must still be held accountable for the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grant payment fiasco, the DA has said, reacting to the Public Protector's findings.
On Wednesday, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a report that found Dlamini had not deliberately misled Parliament when she said Sassa would be ready to take over the management of the grants payment system from Cash Paymaster Service (CPS).
Mkhwebane had investigated the complaint that was lodged by DA MP Bridget Masango in March 2017.
It was lodged after Dlamini's speech on the budget vote in May 2016 in which she said Sassa was ready to manage the payment and distribution of the social grants.
However, earlier that year, Sassa officials told the portfolio committee on social development that they wanted to seek an extension from the Constitutional Court of the existing contract with CPS on the basis that the department was unable to take over and manage the distribution of grants in South Africa.
"Based on the information and evidence obtained during the investigation, I could not make a finding on the allegation that the former minister of social development Bathabile Dlamini deliberately or inadvertently misled the National Assembly and contravened the executive ethics code when she delivered her budget vote speech on May 4, 2016," Mkhwebane said.
In a statement, the DA noted the findings, but pressed on that Dlamini still had a case to answer to.
"Despite the outcome of this report, the DA still holds the view that Bathabile Dlamini must be held to account for putting the livelihoods of millions of South Africans at risk and plunging the country to the brink of a complete crisis," Masango said.
"She failed dismally in her role as the head of social development as well as the women of South Africa, and she must have her day in court."
Masango added Dlamini had a lot to answer for, including a criminal case opened against her after she allegedly claimed she was aware of ANC members' wives who were allegedly involved in a dubious relationship with CPS.
"We will be studying the contents of the report and consult with our lawyers on the merits thereof."