News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
2 Nov 2017
1:14 pm

Jail-wary Dlamini and Scopa await Treasury’s decision on Sassa tender

Gosebo Mathope

The minister has tried to convince MPs the Post Bank is capable of carrying only certain aspects of the grant-payment services.

The ANC Women's League insisted that it's president Bathabile Dlamini be included in President Ramaphosa's new Cabinet.

Responding to questions in the National Assembly on the impasse between South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and South African Post Office (Sapo), Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini was reluctant to take advice from MPs on how to deal with the matter, as they were “conniving” to get her imprisoned.

This was a few hours before the 6pm deadline for the joint meeting between acting Sassa CEO Ruth Bhengu and Sapo CEO Mark Barnes to work out a solution to the crisis.

The meeting was ordered by the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) and the portfolio committee on social development, with the deadline attached.

READ MORE: Sassa and Sapo executives ordered to meet each other halfway by 6pm tomorrow

Ahead of the scheduled update, Dlamini locked horns with opposition MPs and accused them of deliberately trying to frustrate the process of finding a new service provider as per the Constitutional Court ruling.

Earlier this year, the court granted CPS an extension on an already irregular extension of its contract and instructed that a new provider be appointed by April 2018.

At a meeting on Tuesday, legislators from different parties set aside their differences and informed Dlamini and Telecommunications Minister Dr Siyabonga Cwele, as well as the two accounting officers of the public entities, to minimise their tensions and work out a solution.

ANC MP Nyami Booi at some point told Dlamini he was not “interested” in the details of the disagreement.

SAPO: We’re a fully fledged bank and able to deliver on Sassa contract

Dlamini used yesterday’s Q&A session in parliament to hit back at the members of both committees, saying they were not “angels”.  “Next time, I’m going to ask the committee, if they say there must be negotiations, they must write a letter down saying they must negotiate [on Sassa’s behalf],” Dlamini said, to loud heckles from the opposition benches.

“Today, you are saying there is likelihood that you are going to prison. I wish you all the best. I wish you can go fast. Don’t leave Jacob Zuma, don’t leave [Mosebenzi] Zwane, and don’t leave Des [van Rooyen],” EFF MP Mzingisi Dlamini jabbed at Dlamini, who is the also the president of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL).

After the heated exchange, Dondo Mogajane later told the joint committee that after being told to work throughout the night, the two entities failed to “find each other”, and also revealed the technical teams from the two organisations had also failed to meet, and thereby completely ruling out the finalisation of an agreement on how the tender could be handled in terms of the logistics.

Mogajane, who told the committee he stepped in to mediate the process, said at this stage what could possible salvage the deal was “political guidance”.

“In terms of where we are in trying to resolve this, the two parties have not found each other in terms of agreeing what role Sapo should play in grants administration,” Mogajane said.

Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane

Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane

Earlier in the morning, Scopa chairperson Themba Godi told the SABC that, should the talks collapse, as suggested by some opposition MPs, Dlamini would have to shoulder the blame, and he would ask for a motion of no confidence debate against the minister.

Before adjourning the meeting, MPs gave National Treasury a week from Wednesday night to assess Sapo’s technical capacity to take over the grant-payment system from CPS.

Mogajane was ordered to oversee the negotiations process between the organisations. It was agreed the evaluation report would be provided to the interministerial committee headed by the president for approval.


You can follow the author @Gosebo_Mathope.

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