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Susan Shabangu's mammoth task: Revitalise Social Development

Susan Shabangu & former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini will swap roles following last night's Cabinet reshuffle.

New Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN – Susan Shabangu will now be in charge of dealing with the social grants debacle.

She and former Social Development minister Bathabile Dlamini will swap roles following last night's Cabinet reshuffle.

Shabangu was the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.

Ramaphosa's decision to retain Dlamini in Cabinet at all has come as a surprise to many.

It was widely expected that Dlamini would be shown the door over her much-criticised handling of the social grants payment system.

Shabangu has faced her fair share of criticism too.

But for Dlamini, this is not what the opposition was hoping for.

Dlamini is facing a court inquiry over whether she should be held personally liable for the social grants crisis.

On Monday, she was also subpoenaed by the Human Rights Commission for failing to attend an inquiry on mental health care and her department’s refusal to make the necessary submissions.

With just over a month to go before the Social Security Agency is due to take full control over the payment system, a special report by a panel of experts has again expressed doubt that the transition to a new payment model on the first of April will be successful.

But whether Shabangu is the right woman to turn the situation around, is also doubtful.

As the first Minister of Women since 2014, she’s often been criticised for being too low key on critical issues such as gender violence.

She will need to work closely with the new minister responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who will now be leading the inter-ministerial task team responsible for monitoring the social grants transition.