Concerns raised over Dlamini's Cabinet reshuffle survival
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has been criticised for her role in the Sassa payment crisis by the Constitutional Court but she has largely blamed Sassa for the confusion and uncertainty.
JOHANNESBURG – Concerns have been raised about how Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini survived a recent Cabinet reshuffle, with half of the African National Congress (ANC)’s top six questioning President Jacob Zuma’s decision and why action hasn’t been taken against underperforming ministers.
Dlamini has been criticised for her role in the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) payment crisis by the Constitutional Court but she has largely blamed Sassa for the confusion and uncertainty.
On Friday, the minister explained why she shouldn’t be held personally responsible.
In her affidavit, Dlamini claims that Sassa left her in the dark for almost four months after itself, realising that it may be in trouble in terms of taking over the payment process from service provider Cash Paymaster Services.
Dlamini says she ought to have demanded greater accountability from Sassa officials and more frequent updates from them.
But the minister has argued that she shouldn't be held personally liable, saying it’s not commonplace for a public official to bear the costs.
Dlamini, who survived Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, will now have to wait for the Constitutional Court to determine her fate.
The court has already expressed its concern about Dlamini’s lack of interest in trying to resolve the crisis or approach the court to explain the challenges.
LAST MINUTE SUBMISSION
Dlamini has confirmed that her attorneys filed her affidavit to the Constitutional Court, electronically, before the 4pm deadline.
However, Eyewitness News can confirm that by 4:15pm the court had closed its doors and the affidavit had not been delivered by hand or by email.
Her attorneys say they did file her affidavit on time, explaining that the 140-page document was served electronically before 4pm.
Twenty-six copies of the same document had to be hand delivered so as to be filed in court but the minister’s legal team says the court could not accept the filing without confirmation of the electronic service.
In the statement, Dlamini explains that unfortunately due to the large size of the file, some of the electronic service bounced back and all parties could not be served before 4pm.
The attorneys will make a condonation application to the court on Monday.
In her affidavit, the minister claims there was no willful intention to disregard the 2014 order to acquire a new service provider for the payment of social grants.
Dlamini also says around 650,000 beneficiaries have already withdrawn their social grants on Friday and she will be monitoring the payment process on Saturday.
(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)