Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
13 Mar 2017
5:01 am

Zuma and his lawyer the chief architects of grants crisis?

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

The president's lawyer will be referred to the law society for allegedly playing a role in ensuring no one but CPS can continue to pay out grants.

President Jacob Zuma attends a luncheon for world leaders during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 20 September 2016. EPA/PETER FOLEY / POOL

Two opposition parties have accused Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini of conspiring to put government in the position where it has no choice but to renew its contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), even after the Constitutional Court damningly ruled in 2014 that the company’s contract, ending on March 31, was invalid.

The EFF yesterday once again questioned the minister’s motives after a City Press report suggested the SA Social Security Agency’s (Sassa’s) hand had been forced when it failed to report back to the Constitutional Court last month about the plan to pay out social grants from April.

Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza told the newspaper that on numerous occasions his office’s plans to approach the Constitutional Court for guidance had been abruptly halted by last-minute instructions from Dlamini.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has questioned Dlamini’s motives in insisting CPS continue to pay out the grants after a Sunday Times report indicated President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, had held meetings with Dlamini and top Sassa officials to advise them to continue with the CPS contract.

Michael Hulley leaves the Constitutional Court on February 9, 2016 in Johannesburg

Michael Hulley leaves the Constitutional Court on February 9, 2016 in Johannesburg

“This may point to improper actions by him with the aim of thwarting a judgment of the Constitutional Court and the DA will, therefore, report him to the law society for investigation,” DA spokesperson Bridget Masango said yesterday.

Today is the deadline for Sassa to submit to the Constitutional Court why it failed to communicate with the court last month, ahead of the Concourt hearing on Wednesday.

The DA revealed yesterday it had obtained information through the Promotion of Access to Information Act confirming there was still no new contract between CPS and Sassa.

With less than three weeks until the invalid contract with CPS expires, the party said this confirmation was a damning indictment of Dlamini’s devastating inability to ensure 17 million South Africans would receive their grants next month.

Both parties have called for Dlamini to be deemed unfit to hold office as a result of the saga, which they say could have been avoided.

“It is blatantly obvious Dlamini is not fit for office. Her utter disregard for the rule of law and the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the current CPS contract is invalid, her continued unwillingness and inability to answer questions around the payment of grants after March 31, her failure to answer 93% of parliamentary questions on this crisis, and her palpable disdain for millions of South Africans should see her fired immediately,“ Masango said.

The EFF said Dlamini was a danger to SA.

“The greatest threat is a minister who is willing to be in contempt of the highest court to keep a corrupt and illegal contract that benefits their friends, families and close comrades.”