Former Sassa CEO Pearl Bhengu. Photo: Brenda Masilela /ANA

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for Sassa regional head Pearl Bhengu's head after the Constitutional Court ordered that she pay the costs of an urgent application to extend the agency's contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

The apex court on Thursday held that former Sassa CEO Bhengu and the agency should bear the costs of the court application.

DA MP said former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini should also be held accountable for the Sassa crisis, and Bhengu fired in light of the court judgment.

“The DA does welcome that former Bhengu has been ordered to pay the legal costs of the 2018 application seeking the extension of the illegal CPS contract.

“Given that Bengu is now the regional head of Sassa in KwaZulu-Natal, this judgment should see her fired immediately,” said Masango.

The judgment exonerated former Dlamini, by ruling that she was not negligent and did not act in bad faith when she extended Sassa’s contract with CPS in February.

Last year March, Sassa approached the court to request for an extension on the CPS contract. The agency claimed that it would be able to pay grants without the company.

It however failed to pay grants without CPS and approached the court again for another extension.

Dlamini may not be off the hook yet as the court is yet to decide on whether she should be held liable for costs arising from the first request for extension of CPS contract.

Bhengu and Sassa will have to cough out the costs of the court application in their official capacity.

Masango said even though the court in this case exonerated Dlamini, she should still be held accountable for Sassa crisis.

“While the court has ruled that Dlamini is not personally liable, the fact remains that she presided over and was ultimately politically accountable for manufacturing a crisis that put the livelihoods of 17 million South Africans at risk.

“The DA strongly believes that Dodging Dlamini purposefully created the crisis so she could benefit. It seemed that she was determined to deliberately derail the entire process of SASSA procuring an alternative service provider, all in a bid to ensure that the illegal CPS contract could be extended over and over again,” said Masango.

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