Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini on Wednesday took a swipe at the media over its coverage of the social grants debacle, saying she was “worried” that the media and public opinion were influencing decisions taken by the judiciary.
Briefing parliament’s select committee on social services on her department’s plans, Dlamini referred to the Constitutional Court’s judgment in March on the SA Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) controversial contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), suggesting that judges were influenced by newspapers.
“We are worried that as the court was waiting to pronounce there are issues that are coming up in the newspapers that are aimed to influence the whole process. You must remember that one of the judges during the process said ‘we read what is in the newspapers’ [sic].
“Which means they are influenced by what is in the newspapers, so that also has come up again, and that automatically says whatever a decision that will be coming up [to the courts] will be influenced by what is in the public, and therefore public opinion that is not tested is sometimes used as part of arguments [in court] because it was said by a judge,” Dlamini said.
The ConCourt had to intervene in the social grants debacle after the social development ministry and Sassa failed to secure a new service provider to disburse social assistance grants after the court ruled in 2014 that the contract with CPS was illegal.
The highest court in the land extended the contract for another 12 months following an application by The Black Sash Trust, which asked CPS to resume its supervisory role over the payment of grants.
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— eNCA (@eNCA) May 10, 2017