Scopa, has summoned Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini for questioning on the impending welfare grant crisis. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Parliament – Parliament's watchdog public accounts committee, Scopa, has summoned Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini for questioning on the impending welfare grant crisis.

Dlamini was due to brief the committee on Tuesday, along with the South African Social Security Agency, but failed to appear, sending the director-general of social development Zane Dangor instead.

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said he had sent a letter to the minister and was sure she would oblige the committee.

In his letter to her, Godi said the officials who attended on Tuesday had been unable to answer questions in full on Sassa's contract with Cash Paymaster Services, which it has decided to renew in spite of warnings from National Treasury that the procurement process would be unlawful.

MPs across the political spectrum were angered by her absence, while Godi noted that there was a patent preference to engage CPS, wiping other options off the table and said this left political questions to answer.

Sassa had been due to take over payment of welfare grants to more than 17 million beneficiaries from April 1 but has conceded it is not ready to do so.

It began formal negotiations with CPS, a subsidiary of Net1, on Wednesday.

Presidency Minister Jeff Radebe announced on Thursday morning that Cabinet would hold a special meeting next week to discuss the crisis.