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Shabangu vows to deal with challenges at Sassa

Minister Susan Shabangu says she’s served in the portfolio for less than a hundred days and should not yet be judged on her performance.

FILE: Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu has promised to deal head-on with the challenges facing the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).

But she insists, the agency is not a “failed institution” as claimed by the Democratic Alliance.

Sassa officials struggled to answer a barrage of questions before Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts on Tuesday, related to R1.4 billion in irregular expenditure at the agency during the 2016/17 financial year. This is because the former acting CEO Pearl Bengu said she was too ill to attend.

Shabangu says she’s served in the portfolio for less than 100 days and should not yet be judged on her performance.

“I want to assure this committee that I’m a decisive leader. Issues raised today, I want to say we are not going to leave these issues to the committee or to Scopa, we will deal with them.”

She says Bengu should not be blamed for all the issues raised.

“We have to bear in mind that if individuals are failing, then we must not say it’s the institution which is failing.”

Shabangu says she will launch her own investigations into dodgy payments including private security for Bengu and her predecessor Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)