Dlamini ConCourt ruling is about politicians’ accountability – Black Sash
Black Sash says the ruling is also important because the political head needs to accept her responsibilities.
The Black Sash has welcomed the Constitutional Court ruling today that Dlamini should be held liable for costs in relation to the grants crises.
The group’s national advocacy manager Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker said the ruling was important because it is about the accountability of a political head, a ruling that has never been made at the Constitutional Court.
“That is very exciting because the political head needs to understand the responsibilities that she has and the impact it has on the people because that is the reason Black Sash had to make the application because there was a risk that people would not be able to access grants,” Abrahams-Fayker said.
She added that the ruling was also about transparency because there had been a delay in Sassa insourcing grant payments and there had been exorbitant costs involved where Dlamini played a role.
In a unanimous judgement, the Constitutional Court found Dlamini should be held personally responsible for the social grants fiasco at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
Dlamini was ordered to pay 20% of Black Sash and Freedom Under Law’s legal costs, which run into millions.
The former social development minister was moved to the minister of women in the presidency during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first cabinet reshuffle earlier this year.
Freedom Under Law and the Black Sash Trust brought the application for a costs order, blaming Dlamini for the 11th-hour applications to the country’s highest court, which led to extensions of the department’s dodgy contract with Cash Paymaster Services to pay social grants.
Abrahams-Fayker told Radio 702 on Thursday afternoon that the group welcomes the judgement and that it had been appropriate how the court considered the impact on the people.
“So she failed in her duties to ensure that Sassa administered grants properly,” she said.
Abrahams-Fayker said the group is optimistic that the South African Post Office (Sapo) would have the necessary infrastructure and capacity to fully take over the payment of grants from CashPay Master Services on the first of October.
“But we are also concerned about the decision to decommission pay points because through our engagements in community dialogue there are struggles by beneficiaries with the closure of pay points and limiting their access,” she said.