Sassa officials fail to justify millions spent on security for Bathabile Dlamini

Since 2012, Sassa has spent R3.5 million on protection services for Dlamini, her spokesperson Lumka Oliphant and their children.

FILE: Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The millions spent by the Social Security Agency of South Africa (Sassa) on personal security for former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has again come under the spotlight in Parliament.

Sassa has also been paying for private security for its KwaZulu-Natal's regional manager Pearl Bengu, and Dlamini’s spokesperson Lumka Oliphant.

Appearing before Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday, Sassa officials could not provide details related to the threats against any of them or their children, but insisted that in the case of Bengu, that an assessment had been done.

Since 2012, Sassa has spent R3.5 million on protection services for Dlamini, Oliphant and their children.

The agency is now trying to hold former CEO Virginia Petersen personally liable for the costs.

Her lawyer has asked for more information before making representations on culpability.

Chief financial officer Tsakeriwa Chauke says private security for Bengu can be justified.

“I do know there were assessments that were done at given intervals.”

Chauke says that Bengu is the only regional manager to receive personal protection due to a threat on her life.

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)