Minister Bathabile Dlamini Picture: Etienne Creux/Independent Media

Cape Town - Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini announced on Wednesday that Pearl Bhengu has been appointed interim CEO of Sassa.

Dlamini met with the staff of Sassa on Wednesday where she made the announcement.

Bhengu has been serving as the Sassa regional manager in KwaZulu-Natal since 2012. 

The announcement follows after Dlamini and the former CEO, Thokozani Magwaza, mutually agreed to end his contract of employment.  

Magwaza's exit came just hours after standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) chairperson Themba Godi condemned alleged death threats against Magwaza, labelling them “brazen lawlessness”.

Godi said he had spoken at length with Magwaza on Sunday about the threats and finalising the contract between Sassa and the SA Post Office (Sapo) to replace Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) in the payment of social grants.

"As Scopa, we are shocked and angry at what is evidently brazen lawlessness by a criminal gang of rent seekers who want to intimidate Mr Magwaza out of his job so they can frustrate the Sassa-Sapo contract and instead open the door for the looting of public funds,” Godi said.

“The fate of 17 million vulnerable and poor South Africans is at stake. This is an attack and sabotage of national interest for the benefit of an immoral and parasitic clique.

“As Scopa, we fully support Mr Magwaza. He must stay put and be steadfast in his post to serve the national interest. It is shocking that the minister of social development, Bathabile Dlamini, has not said a word or stood in solidarity with Mr Magwaza, thus making him feel he is on his own.”

On Wednesday Dlamini stated that the first priority of the acting CEO is to stabilise the agency and to ensure that it focuses on its Constitutional mandate of administering and paying social grants in line with the Sassa Act.

 IOL and ANA