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Minister Dlamini looks worse by the day

Even the company accused of getting an illegal tender from her department was more concerned about grants than she appears to be.

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi often plays for the crowd but on Tuesday he hit the nail on the head when he said Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini couldn’t keep running away from the social grants crisis and that she had to account for her actions.

Dlamini was summoned to face parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday over the state of affairs at the SA Social Security Agency.

Dlamini may have assured the public that social grants to more than 17 million people will be paid on April 1, but the facts seem to suggest otherwise.

As a result, political parties and unions have called for her to resign. What hasn’t helped matters is that Dlamini continues to say that negotiations with current provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) on transfer costs are still ongoing, yet there are claims that the deal has already been concluded.

On Tuesday, Dlamini once again tried to duck and dive, asking the MPs if she could leave by 11am to attend a Cabinet meeting.

Ndlozi hit back hard: “This is not church where you preach and we just say ‘amen’ and go home. The minister must account.”

What could be more important than fixing the social grants mess? With less than a month to go, millions of South Africans face the very real prospect of going hungry if their grants aren’t paid in time.

This should be priority number one for Dlamini. She shouldn’t rest until this is sorted out once and for all.

What is even more staggering is that Dlamini admitted her department had underestimated the amount of work they had to do.

Really? There have been reports that an exchange of letters reveals that CPS urged Sassa almost a year ago to avoid several pitfalls that could lead to a social grants crisis.

It’s simple. Dlamini must either face the music and quickly come up with a solution, or ship out.


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