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Bathabile Dlamini says ready to defend herself in court inquiry

The Social Development Minister said the inquiry will expose issues behind the scenes that scuppered reporting to the Constitutional Court on time.

FILE: Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says she’s ready to defend herself in a court inquiry, that she should not be held personally liable for last year’s social grants debacle.

In a wide-ranging interview with ANN7 on Wednesday, Dlamini said the inquiry will expose issues behind the scenes that scuppered reporting to the Constitutional Court on time.

She says this year will be a crucial one for the agency to set up its hybrid payment plan that will be phased in over the next five years.

Dlamini says the Constitutional Court was justified in rapping Sassa over the knuckles for not informing it ahead of time, that it would not meet the deadline for the takeover of grant payments.

But she says an inquiry into her personal conduct will reveal that she was kept in the dark about the challenges that were being faced, and that led to the agency falling foul of reporting to the court on time.

During the interview, Dlamini also defended the work done by the irregularly appointed technical and advisory committees.

She says they reported directly to her to overcome gatekeeping within Sassa, and that they were not doing the agency’s work, but coming up with payment options.

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