Chorus of calls for Bathabile Dlamini to step down grows louder

Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane has joined calls for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to step down.

FILE: ANC Women's League President & Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane has called on Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to step down.

The former archbishop of Cape Town says the social grant debacle is reason enough for her to resign or to be sacked.

The South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) is negotiating with Cash Paymaster Services, whose contract ends this month, to ensure social grants are paid from 1 April.

In a statement, Ndungane questions whether government grasps the enormity of the situation if social grants are not be paid out on 1 April.

He says Dlamini should allow a more capable person to handle the matter if she is unable to do so.

“Not getting a social grant is not an inconvenience, it’s a calamity.”

The minister's spokesperson Lumka Oliphant says Ndungane should not engage Dlamini in the public space.

“The department and minister has a very good relationship with faith-based organisations and their leaders.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has also called on Dlamini to resign.

The federation held a briefing in Braamfontein on Thursday following its Central Executive Committee meeting.

Cosatu general-secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said, “The minister and her team in the department need to take political responsibility for this crisis by resigning - or they must be dismissed.”

The federation said Sassa failed to deal decisively with the irregular expenditure and tender processes which threatens the livelihoods of 17 million grant beneficiaries.

In 2014 the Constitutional Court ruled the Cash Paymaster Services contract was unlawful.

Since then, Sassa has failed to institutionalise payouts or find a new service provider.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)