News / South Africa

Steven Tau
3 minute read
8 Mar 2017
6:01 am

Dlamini’s behaviour likely to create a ‘confidence gap’, says ANC stalwart

Steven Tau

Sydney Mufamadi was speaking following Dlamini's briefing, where she failed to adequately respond to questions regarding a new contract with CPS.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini delivers an address during the National Social Work Indaba. (Photo: DoC)

The behaviour of public servants who refuse to respond to questions in a manner similar to Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has the potential to create a serious confidence gap that will be difficult to bridge, according to Sydney Mufamadi.

The ANC stalwart was speaking in his capacity as director of the University of Johannesburg’s School of Leadership.

His remarks come amid growing calls for Dlamini’s resignation over the ongoing social grants crisis.

There is a huge sense of panic and uncertainty whether the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) will be in a position to dispense social grants to 17 million beneficiaries when they are due, on April 1.

On Sunday, Dlamini called a media briefing in Pretoria where she failed to respond to questions about what a new contract with service provider Cash Payment Services (CPS) would entail, despite giving an assurance that come April 1, no beneficiary will go unpaid.

Appearing before the standing committee on public accounts hearing on social grants in parliament on Tuesday, Dlamini said no agreement had been reached with CPS.

She stressed only that negotiations took place between February 1 and 3.

ALSO READ: Letters show Sassa was warned of impending grant crisis – report

Speaking to The Citizen on Tuesday, Mufamadi said if he was the minister, he would be very concerned that he was not doing government or the ANC any good by not responding in detail to questions asked around what many people are starting to describe as a “national crisis”.

Commenting on the minister’s behaviour during Sunday’s press conference, Mufamadi said: “When calling a press conference, you use the press to communicate with the public and she had to explain to the nation why there has been a delay in terms of securing a contract with a service provider, as well as why it took so long to correct the defects in the contract with CPS.

“A head of department resigns, but she still says she cannot discuss the issue … she scored dismally.”

Asked if Dlamini was competent, Mufamadi said Scopa was the authority to make a judgment on the matter.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Dlamini said she would not be forced to answer what she called “inaccurate” questions from MPs.

She reiterated that due processes were followed during the tender bidding. Dlamini appeared to be shifting blame, saying government worked with accounting officers in different departments.

Other MPs probed the minister further on who the real players at CPS were and what their contribution to the domestic economy was.

But they could not get straight-forward answers.

When EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi asked Dlamini what it was that had “brought us here” with regards to the Sassa crisis and why she thought she should still be the minister, even when she could not handle the Sassa affairs, Dlamini again repeated what she said on Sunday.

“Ministers are appointed by the president and I never joined the ANC to become a minister.”

She said although she was not blaming anyone over the grants saga and took full responsibility, she would not accept what some have said in that come April 1, beneficiaries would not be paid.

“This causes pain and uncertainty in the minds of people,” Dlamini added.

The ANC was not available for comment and by the time of going to press, party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa had not replied to an SMS sent to him on Tuesday.

Info: 

  • The branches, members and supporters of the South African Communist Party in the Mbuyiselo Ngwenda District in Nelson Mandela Metro, Eastern Cape, will hold a picket at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) offices in Uitenhage.
  • In a media release issued Tuesday night, the party said it would deliver a memorandum to the management of the Sassa branch, outlining the concerns of communities around the Nelson Mandela Bay area on the ongoing crisis that is threatening the payment of social grants.
  • The picket will be held 0n at the Sassa offices in Constitution Road.
  • The picket will start at noon.

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