File picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA

Johannesburg - Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini should shoulder the blame for the SA Social Security Agency’s failure to meet the deadline to take over the distribution of social grants. 

This is what lawyers representing former Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza, who resigned in midst of the crisis last year, told the Sassa Inquiry. 

Advocate Richard Solomon argued at the Sassa Inquiry on Monday that his client was a victim of Dlamini’s deception, especially when dealing with controversial workstreams that cost the agency millions of rand.

The workstreams were appointed by Dlamini and did parallel work already done by Sassa staff members. 

Read: #SASSAInquiry: Dlamini lied under oath, says Budlender

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Dlamini had argued that although the work streams were appointed by her, every executive was involved in the procurement process. 

“So, for the minister to suggest that although they (workstreams) were appointed by her, they were subject to the ordinary procurement process, Judge we submit that argument is fallacious,” argued Solomon.

On why Sassa was unable to meet the March 2017 deadline to take over the distribution of social grants, Solomon says Dlamini has tried by all attempts to conceal her failure in the matter. 

“There was a persistent effort on Dlamini’s part to conceal information on her role in the failure to meet the March 2017 deadline.

Similar to the argument put forward by Black Sash earlier, Solomon argued that Dlamini was an evasive and frustrating witness.

“She was loquacious, argumentative, evasive and most uncooperative.  She should shoulder the responsibility for the crisis at Sassa and its failure to meet the deadline of March 2017,” said Solomon. 

Earlier Black Sash Advocate Geoff Budlender argued similar statements saying that Dlamini was a poor witness who refused to answer questions. 

The Sassa Inquiry is meant to determine whether Dlamini should be held personally liable for the Sassa crisis that forced the Constitutional Court to extend the illegal contract between Cash Paymaster Services and Sassa.

Political Bureau