The inquiry into whether Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini should be personally held liable for the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) grants payment debacle is expected to begin in January next year.
Retired judge Bernard Ngoepe was appointed by the Constitutional Court to lead the inquiry, said to be the first of its kind in South Africa since the dawn of democracy.
The inquiry was set up to determine issues relating to the establishment of workstreams, allegedly appointed by Dlamini, that formed parallel structures to the operations of Sassa and flouted National Treasury’s procurement rules.
The controversial workstreams were tasked with dealing with the social grant payment crisis that gripped the country earlier this year in March when the contract of current service provider, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), was due to expire on April 1 after the ConCourt found in 2014 the contract between CPS and Sassa was illegal.
Khuraisha Patel‚ from the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, which represents Black Sash‚ told TimesLIVE judge Ngoepe meet with all parties – Treasury, Sassa and Freedom Under Law – in September to thrash out issues relating to the inquiry.
“He requested the parties to submit documents. That has now been done and the judge has given all parties an opportunity to scrutinise the documents … The actual inquiry will start late in January 2018,” Patel said.