parliament's watchdog on public finances has "noted with anger" the resignation of Director-general of the Department of Social Development Zane Dangor. File picture: David Ritchie
Cape Town - The social development department is "clearly falling apart", Parliament's public accounts standing committee (Scopa) said on Saturday, adding it has noted with anger the resignation of recently appointed social development department director general Zane Dangor over the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) debacle.

"In our brief interactions with Mr Dangor he had proven himself to be an honest and hardworking civil servant. He was one of the many officials in the department and in Sassa who have been frustrated by minister Bathabile Dlamini’s heavy handed interference in Sassa’s administrative matters," Scopa chairman Themba Godi said on Saturday.

Clearly, the Cash Paymaster Service (CPS) contract negotiations had been handled to the disadvantage of the state and grant recipients, especially around the issue of deductions which had been a major thorn for recipients. Dlamini now had to take full responsibility for this. "The department is clearly falling apart," he said.

"As Scopa we are looking forward to meeting with the minister on Tuesday so that all these matters can be fully ventilated. It is now becoming very difficult to explain the capability of the minister to effectively run the department and discharge of her responsibilities. Scopa cannot be quiet or indifferent to these levels of mismanagement which create unease and anxiety in the nation, and comes at a huge financial cost to the state," Godi said.

Earlier, the Daily Maverick reported: “The political fallout from... Dlamini and Sassa’s spectacular bungling in relation to the payout of 17 million social grants when the contract with its current service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) comes to an end on March 31 has begun.

On Friday, the department’s director general Zane Dangor tendered his resignation.

“It had become increasingly clear at presentations to Parliament’s portfolio committees on social development and public accounts that Dangor and Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza have been sidelined and kept out of what appears to be a closed loop with regard to the agency’s readiness to act as paymaster for social grants as well as backroom negotiations that have been taking place with CPS,” the Daily Maverick said.

In 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that Sassa’s contract with CPS was invalid because the tender process was flawed.

Dangor said he had resigned because of a “complete breakdown in [the] relationship between him and the minister over the payment of social grants and the legal requirements obliged by Sassa”, eNCA reported.

In a terse statement late on Friday night, the social development department said Sassa and CPS had “reached an agreement after they were locked up in intense negotiations for three days”.

Dlamini would announce the “nature of this agreement soon. Details of the announcement will be communicated in due course”, the brief statement said.