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Call for minister to step down over Sassa debacle

Politics

Johannesburg - As the social grants saga rages on, the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) has called for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to be sacked.

The YCLSA described as an April Fool’s joke remarks by the minister that social grants would be paid to millions of beneficiaries on April 1.

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Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Masi Losi

Briefing the media in Joburg on Sunday following its national committee meeting at the weekend, YCLSA national secretary Mluleki Dlelanga said members were worried that Dlamini had struck another deal with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

The Sunday Independent reported that Dlamini had presented a new deal with CPS when she and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan were summoned to President Jacob Zuma’s official residence in Pretoria on Saturday.

This would see CPS paid R17.64 a month for every beneficiary, and that the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) would effectively pay CPS almost R300 million a month in terms of the new deal. Annually, this would amount to R3.6 billion.

According to the report, this was a nominal increase of R1.10 on the current agreement, which ends on March 31, and which the Constitutional Court had found to be irregular and invalid in 2014.

During a heated media briefing in Pretoria on Sunday, in which she walked out, Dlamini said: “On April 1, Sassa begins a new era in continued development. As has been the case in the past, no one will go unpaid. We are focused on our mandate to deliver social assistance to the country’s most vulnerable."

“We will work with all key stakeholders and with the legal and regulatory frameworks that govern our work and actions. We cannot afford to be distracted on our focus to be able to live up to this promise to our grant beneficiaries to pay the right social grant to the right person at the right place and on time.”

The social grants fiasco saw the Social Development Department’s director-general, Zane Dangor, resigning on Friday, citing a breakdown of relations, in the wake of Dlamini’s handling of the Sassa crisis.

The Star reported that Sassa chief executive Thokozani Magwaza had been suspended pending an investigation into his conduct after defying Dlamini on the matter.

Magwaza allegedly wrote to SA Post Office (Sapo) chief executive Mark Barnes requesting the parastatal to take over the social grants contract.

On Sunday, Dlelanga called on Zuma to axe Dlamini “in the interest of the people of our country and in the interest of the most vulnerable groups, such as women and the youth”.

He added: “Dlamini must resign because she is the one who orchestrated an April Fool’s Day joke on this. We don’t want to wake up on April 1 to find that people are not going to be paid.”

Meanwhile, the young communists have condemned the “grandstanding and palace politics” on the land question and agrarian reform, saying they would organise a land symposium before the ANC’s policy conference.

Political Bureau

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