Johannesburg – The National Union of Mineworkers' Women's Structure on Sunday expressed unhappiness with the African National Congress Woman's League for attacking the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) over the social grants fiasco.
"The National Union of Mineworkers' National Women's Structure (NUM-WS) is deeply saddened by the outrageous and unfounded attack by the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) on [the] Cosatu CEC [central executive committee] and the leadership collective of all the federation's affiliates," NUM-WS national secretary Phumeza Mgengo said.
"This all happens when 17 million South Africans social grant beneficiaries (majority which are women and children) are facing a hopeless and bleak upcoming reality of not being able to revise their only source of income next month. This is due to 'someone' sleeping on the job, as the Constitutional Court gave Sassa [South African Social Security Agency] and the department of social development ample time to look for an appropriate service provider.
"But that department entrusted with looking after our poor of the poorest is busy playing marbles with the livelihood of all these beneficiaries who are our grandmothers, mothers, children, and grandchildren, among others. Which brings us to question who is this ANCWL's defending? 17 million poor South Africans beneficiaries or one factional person or group within its ranks?" Mgengo asked.
"The ANCWL is so blinded by factionalism that it is even oblivious to the fact that Cabinet has called a special Cabinet meeting to deal with this blatant disregard of a Constitutional Court judgment and sentencing 17 million South Africans into brutal abject poverty."
This grouping in the ANCWL had the audacity to question the bona fides of the Cosatu CEC, while they were supposed to act as "mothers of this nation".
"As the NUM Women's Structure, we put the welfare our children, families, and society first. Not be [an] extension of petty palace politics. One wonders if this ANCWL is the same as that fierce organisation led [by] struggle stalwarts [such as] ma Sophie de Bruyn, ma Lilian Ngoyi, ma Berta Gxowa," Mgengo said. The NUM-WS called on the ANC to rebuke "this frivolous statement, as it does not represent the ANCWL; we in the WS are members in good standing".
"This arrogance and selfish narrow interests politicking from the leagues is not advancing the struggle towards achieving the national democratic revolution nor defeating the triple threats facing us in this juncture of poverty, unemployment, and inequalities," Mgengo said.
Earlier on Sunday, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, who is also ANCWL president, told journalists in Pretoria that Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) would continue, for now, to pay out social grants even after its contract expired at the end of the month. But the social development department was quick to say “no deal” had yet been signed with CPS. Discussions with the service provider were ongoing.
Dlamini said the plan was to have a transition period at the end of which Sassa would take over the responsibility of paying out social grants. She said the South African Post Office would also be involved. Allaying fears of a possible crisis when the CPS contract came to an end on March 31, Dlamini assured all grant recipients that their social grants would be paid. In 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that Sassa’s contract with CPS was invalid because the tender process was flawed.
On Thursday, ANCWL secretary general Moekgo Matuba accused Cosatu of “grandstanding and having consciously abandoned their roles of leading a federation” after the trade union federation called on Dlamini to resign or be fired over the grant and pensions crisis.
Matuba said the Cosatu executive committee’s statement that the looming grant payment bungle had a “smell of corruption” was mainly driven by some in Cosatu leadership who had an “uncontrollable ambition to be deployed into ANC-led government positions and Cabinet positions in Parliament”.