Johannesburg - The Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini has denied that the controversial workstreams she established were designed to hamper the work done by employees at the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa).
Dlamini said the streams were above board and did the job they were established to do.
She was giving evidence at the inquiry into the Sassa grants crisis at the office of the Chief Justice on Monday. The inquiry was established by the Constitutional Court to figure out whether Dlamini should be held personally responsible for the Sassa grants crisis.
The minister had appointed members of the workstreams to help Sassa staff in putting together a plan for the agency to take over the payment of grants. The streams reported to Dlamini.
It was reported that the workstreams were not doing anything new, but instead doing the same job being done by Sassa staff members. They also cost the department over R40 million.
The procurement of the workstreams also raised red flags with National Treasury.
Former Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza cancelled the contract for the workstreams in June 2017.
Asked why the workstreams were appointed, Dlamini said it was to help Sassa. She said she was surprised why some were against the workstreams when executives at Sassa had been part of the procurement process.
“No I never saw the work streams as hampering or obstructing work done by Sassa. Work streams were going to make sure that we work better and that we achieve the mandate. I was making sure that the work continues. The fact that the workstreams were reporting directly to me did not mean they did not have to report to Sassa officials. I am sure they met with them and reported to them,” said Dlamini.
Last year, the Constitutional Court allowed for the one year extension of the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract for the distribution of social grants.