Tutu: Dlamini’s arrogance during grants debacle 'breathtaking'

Bathabile Dlamini now has one month to explain in an affidavit why she shouldn’t be held personally liable for the situation.

FILE: Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Catherine Rice/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Corruption Watch says Fridays’ ruling on the grants crisis is a resounding win for all South Africans, while Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has described the Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s arrogance during the debacle as "breathtaking".

Dlamini now has one month to explain in an affidavit why she shouldn’t be held personally liable for the situation, which the ANC has labelled “embarrassing”.

The Constitutional Court extended the current contract between Cash Paymaster Service (CPS) and the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) for the next 12 months to ensure social grants are paid come 1 April.

At the same time, the African National Congress (ANC) has described the events over the past few weeks as unnecessary and it’s called on government to act decisively against those responsible for this embarrassing situation.

The ANC’s tone is in striking contrast to President Jacob Zuma who yesterday told parliament that there was no crisis while defending Minister Dlamini, who has been widely blamed for the debacle.

The ANC says it was unnecessary for the social grants situation to reach the level that it has and that unnecessary panic was sown among the country's most vulnerable.

National Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says action should have been taken in 2014 already, when current contract was declared invalid.

“I think all those who were involved, there needs to be consequence management and that consequence management must send a message that this kind of a situation we must never find ourselves in.”

But Kodwa would not be drawn on whether the party wants to see action taken against Dlamini.

“The government must study read thoroughly the judgment and take appropriate action.”

The ANC says it wants the Department of Social Development to immediately embark on a process to right the wrongs it's committed.

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Sassa will have to report back to the Constitutional Court every three months to show what progress has been made in terms of acquiring a new service provider to distribute social grants.

Justice Froneman ordered Sassa to report back on its progress over the next year.

“The minister and Sassa must file reports on affidavit with this court every three months commencing on the date of this order, setting out how they plan to ensure the payment of social grants after the expiry of the 12-month period.”

One woman, who relies on social grant, says this order makes her feel more secure.

“There’s a monitoring and evaluation mechanism that has been put in place so we will know what is happening. If there is something lacking, there will be steps to correct what is not being implemented.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)