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Parliament subpoena hangs over Dlamini

Chairperson Themba Godi says Parliament will no longer tolerate Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini dodging Scopa meetings.

FILE: Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini could become the first minister to be subpoenaed to appear before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) if she fails to turn up on Tuesday morning.

She was not present at a Scopa meeting last week when the committee discussed millions of rand in irregular expenditure in her department.

On Monday, Dlamini met grant beneficiaries in Cape Town to assure them they would be paid in April. Dlamini's department and the South African Social Security Agency have been negotiating a new contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), the company which is administering grant payments for government.

In 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled the current contract between Sassa and CPS was invalid and couldn’t be renewed after it expires on 31 March. The confusion has sparked concerns around whether 17 million South Africans will receive their social grants.

Dlamini has not attended a Scopa meeting since November.

Last week, she left it up to officials from her department to field questions on irregular expenditure.

Scopa says it wants to speak to the minister about a new contract to pay social grants.

Chairperson Themba Godi says Parliament will no longer tolerate the minister dodging their meetings.

“If she wants to make history as the first minister to be subpoenaed, that’s her choice.”

But when asked by Eyewitness News whether she would attend Tuesday's meeting, Dlamini was evasive.

“I don’t want to answer that one.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)