Chairperson of parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) Themba Godi has suggested he believes the former CEO of SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) Thokozani Magwaza was pushed to resign from his position.
“He has always made it clear that he will never resign, if he is going to leave he must be pushed. The man only assumed his post in November last year and got sick. What then becomes the reason for resignation, if any?” he told Talk Radio 702 on Tuesday morning.
The termination of Magwaza’s contract came amid reports that he was being pressured to accept an exit package and his life was under threat after he cancelled controversial workstream contracts worth R47 million on June 29, which were allegedly set up by Dlamini during the social grants payment debacle and were declared to be irregular by National Treasury.
He was also in the process of finalising negotiations with South African Post Office (Sapo) to take over the R10-billion monthly contract to pay social grants to 17 million citizens from the current service provider, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), in March next year.
Godi said the former CEO was expecting to be fired because he did not receive the necessary support from Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. According to reports, the pair disagreed on the Sapo and commercial banks taking over the payment of grants.
“I think Magwaza needed to hear the voice of the minister supporting him, saying continue, do your work, we have your back. Besides him facing the death threats, he also had the challenge of his political principle [Dlamini] was not seeing eye-to-eye with him,” Godi said.
“That clearly tells you that they were poles apart in terms of their perspective on how things should unfold in Sassa,” he added.
Godi also said he was concerned about the negotiations with the Post Office, and Scopa was considering summoning officials from Sassa to parliament in August when the national legislature reconvenes to give an update on the progress relating to finding a replacement for CPS.