Black Sash: Dlamini failed in oversight duty of Sassa

The NGO has requested the Constitutional Court to resume its supervisory jurisdiction of the Sassa debacle.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Non-governmental organisation Black Sash started with its legal argument at the Constitutional Court on Wednesday, saying the Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini failed in her oversight duty of Sassa.

WATCH: Proceedings in the Constitutional Court

The legality of a new contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to distribute social grants is being argued in the highest court in the land as concerns grow that beneficiaries won't be paid on 1 April.

In 2014, the court declared the current contract with CPS invalid.

With just over two weeks to go before payments are due, Sassa is scrambling to ensure beneficiaries are paid and a new contract is put in place, after CPS warned Sassa to close the deal as it needs at least 12 days to ensure that grant beneficiaries are paid.

Black Sash has requested the court to resume its supervisory jurisdiction of the Sassa debacle.

Advocate Geoff Budlender for Black Sash says that Dlamini believes there is no crisis.

WATCH: Dlamini: there is no crisis at Sassa

The advocate says there is presently no confidence in the minister or Sassa that such a crisis won't happen again at the end of the next contract.

"Ministers who do their job have regular meeting with their heads of department and the heads of agencies for which they're responsible. They find out what is happening. The minister doesn't say that during those six months she asked what was being done and was misled and she doesn't say that anything was concealed from her. She simply says that for six months, she didn't know that the most important things she was responsible for, was at risk."

He says the payment of social grants is the minister’s most important responsibility, even though she argues she was kept in the dark for six months. Budlender says that's simply incomprehensible.

"A presentation was made by the minister and Sassa. They didn't disclose to the portfolio committee or public that the previous month, October, Sassa had instructed council that it would not be able to take over the payment function in March 2017."

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)