South African minister under scrutiny over 2017 social grants crisis South African minister under scrutiny over 2017 social grants crisis

South African minister under scrutiny over 2017 social grants crisis
02 Feb 2018

South Africa’s social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has been warned to stop evading questions at an inquiry into her role in the country’s 2017 social grants crisis.

On several occasions Judge Bernard Ngoepe was forced to intervene as Black Sash advocate Geoff Budlender attempted to get answers. Budlender claimed that Dlamini had contradicted herself on the record over whether the former chief executive of the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) Thokozani Magwaza had informed her that there was dissatisfaction at the social security agency over the existence of various workstreams.

The inquiry is considering whether Dlamini should be held personally liable for the costs incurred during the Sassa payment crisis. It is also investigating whether she fixed the appointment of workstream leaders.

The three workstreams were 'information and business management', 'banking services and project management, legislative and policy requirements management' and 'benefits and local economic development'. They appeared to exist in parallel with both the department and Sassa.

The leaders of the workstreams acted as advisors to Dlamini before they were appointed to head the workstreams, in a move that was said to be both illegal and irregular.

In addition, the Constitutional Court ordered the inquiry to investigate the details of the appointments in relation to when each leader was appointed, to whom they reported and the details of the dates and contents of each workstream's report to the minister. It also said it would consider why Dlamini did not disclose this information to the Constitutional Court.

The hearings are continuing.

 

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

South Africa’s social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has been warned to stop evading questions at an inquiry into her role in the country’s 2017 social grants crisis.

On several occasions Judge Bernard Ngoepe was forced to intervene as Black Sash advocate Geoff Budlender attempted to get answers. Budlender claimed that Dlamini had contradicted herself on the record over whether the former chief executive of the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) Thokozani Magwaza had informed her that there was dissatisfaction at the social security agency over the existence of various workstreams.

The inquiry is considering whether Dlamini should be held personally liable for the costs incurred during the Sassa payment crisis. It is also investigating whether she fixed the appointment of workstream leaders.

The three workstreams were 'information and business management', 'banking services and project management, legislative and policy requirements management' and 'benefits and local economic development'. They appeared to exist in parallel with both the department and Sassa.

The leaders of the workstreams acted as advisors to Dlamini before they were appointed to head the workstreams, in a move that was said to be both illegal and irregular.

In addition, the Constitutional Court ordered the inquiry to investigate the details of the appointments in relation to when each leader was appointed, to whom they reported and the details of the dates and contents of each workstream's report to the minister. It also said it would consider why Dlamini did not disclose this information to the Constitutional Court.

The hearings are continuing.

 

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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