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New interim CEO Pearl Bhengu to prioritise stability at Sassa

Bengu's appointment follows the sudden departure of Thokozani Magwaza two days ago.

Sassa interim CEO Pearl Bhengu and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini (R). Picture: @The_DSD.

JOHANNESBURG - The Social Development Department says newly appointed interim CEO Pearl Bhengu will prioritise stabilising the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).

Minister Bathabile Dlamini has announced the appointment of Bhengu who was, until now, an executive manager at Sassa's regional office in KwaZulu-Natal.

Her appointment follows the sudden departure of Thokozani Magwaza two days ago.

Spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said: “The minister stated that the first priority of the CEO is to stabilise the agency and to ensure that it focuses on its constitutional mandate of administering and paying social grants in line with the Sassa Act.”

‘DLAMINID RUNNING SASSA INTO THE GROUND’

The Centre for Unity and Diversity says Minister Dlamini is running Sassa into the ground.

It’s raised serious concerns around the sudden departure of Magwaza and what it means for his plans to have the South African Post Office take over the payments of social grants in the wake of the scandal.

Magwaza has been critical of the minister's handling of the debacle and is expected to testify against her in a public enquiry into her role in the debacle.

The centre's Zohra Dawood says the standing committee on public accounts needs to hold Dlamini accountable.

“The minister is not particularly interested in the Post Office becoming the distributing agency for the grants because she would prefer possibly CPS.”

STOP HARASSING ME

On Tuesday, Minister Dlamini said journalists were harassing her about the sudden departure of Magwaza.

She dodged a barrage of questions from journalists as she walked into the main hall at the Walter Sisulu Square in Soweto.

Dlamini said she wouldn't be giving any comment on Magwaza's exit.

The minister told journalists she wouldn't be harassed.

“Please stop harassing me.”

Oliphant attempted to protect the minister from questions by blocking the doorway into the hall with her arms.

Magwaza's sudden exit from Sassa has raised serious concerns given his previous clashes with the minister about the Sassa payment scandal.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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