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Public Protector notifies Gordhan, Dlamini of intention to probe Sassa debacle

Public Protector will also be adding the DA’s complaint over the alleged relationship between Dlamini and Cash Paymaster Services.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she has made contact with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, notifying them of her intention to investigate the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) matter.

The office’s Oupa Segalwe says the Public Protector will also be adding the Democratic Alliance’s complaint over the alleged relationship between Dlamini and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to her own investigation.

On Friday the court extended the current contract, between CPS and Sassa by one year to ensure beneficiaries receive their grants on time.

The minister has come under fire for not appointing a new cash distributor with earlier concerns over grants not being paid.

Despite her apology on Friday, Dlamini still faces paying the costs of the Constitutional Court proceedings.

Segalwe says, “She was going to focus on the apparent undue delays on the part of Sassa and Social Development to implement the decision of the Constitutional Court.”

Segalwe says the investigation will look at who was responsible for the crisis and the relationship with CPS.

He says while the relevant ministers have been contacted, he cannot give a deadline for the investigation yet because of the multiple procedures that need to be followed in acquiring and processing information.

ZUMA INTERVENES

President Jacob Zuma said he has expanded his inter-ministerial committee (IMC) to make sure that social grants are monitored and the Constitutional Court's order on the matter is implemented.

With just weeks to go before the next payment of grants, the social development department came under fire for not appointing a cash distributor.

But the president said the court has now given clear instructions on the extension of the grants distribution and the parameters within which government must operate.

Zuma’s spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said, “The president has directed the IMC on comprehensive social security to ensure that the order of the court is implemented efficiently and diligently in its entirety.”

He added that beyond the court order, the president said the IMC will also focus on comprehensive social security reform.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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