Vytjie Mentor: Guptas could score social grants system contract

The state capture whistle-blower has joined a myriad of voices lambasting Bathabile Dlamini's handling of the social grants crisis.

Vytjie Mentor. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN – Former African National Congress (ANC) member of Parliament (MP) Vytjie Mentor claims South Africa’s social grants system is destined to end up in the hands of the Gupta family unless urgent intervention is taken.

Mentor released a statement over Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s attempt to ease fears over grants not being paid to beneficiaries come 1 April.

There are concerns the South African Social Security Agency has failed to implement a plan for when the contract with the current service provider lapses at the end of this month.

In 2014, the Constitutional Court found the contract to be invalid.

The State Capture whistle-blower has joined a myriad of voices lambasting Dlamini for how she has been handling the social grants crisis.

On her Facebook page, Mentor states she has learnt from reliable sources that a Gupta family-owned company will be appointed at the '11th hour' to distribute the grants.

She adds they will also be responsible for the biometric cards.

During a press conference on Sunday, Dlamini assured beneficiaries they will receive their grants on the first of next month, but she remained vague on the details.

Meanwhile, various opposition parties including the Democratic Alliance and Congress of the People have called on President Jacob Zuma to dismiss Dlamini over the debacle.

TENSIONS

About 17 million South Africans are dependent on social grants and questions have been asked about whether they will be paid.

In 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that the deal with CPS was invalid and the department was required to find a new company or means to distribute the grants.

However, the contract was allowed to run until the end of this month.

Tensions escalated at a briefing with Dlamini and journalists on Sunday in Pretoria.

Dlamini said it was the media that had been misleading the public over South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) payments after coming under fire for avoiding questions surrounding the department’s relationship with national treasury.

An argument ensued between ENCA journalist Karyn Maughan and the minister.

“And unfortunately it is the media that has been perpetuating that we’re not going to pay on 1 April. And so you must go back and correct it.”

The minister refused to answer questions about the resignation of Zane Dangor as director-general.

“Don’t come here with your preconceived ideas. If I did not stand up, you were going to say I’m a lame duck. Now that I’ve stood up because things were not moving, I’m now flouting the Constitution.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)