NEWS

The DA Wants Ramaphosa In Parliament To Force Dlamini To Account For Sassa Debacle

“Since this crisis emerged and despite the DA’s efforts, Dlamini has evaded every opportunity for accountability.”

06/03/2017 13:36 SAST | Updated 06/03/2017 13:40 SAST
Mujahid Safodien/AFP/Getty Images

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa must be roped in to force Social Development Minister Bathabile to be accountable to Parliament, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday.

It wants Ramaphosa, as head of government business in Parliament, to instruct Dlamini to attend Tuesday's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) meeting after she failed to pitch for last week's meeting.

The party's spokesperson for social development, Bridget Masango, and its spokesperson on the Scopa, David Ross, said in a joint statement: "Since this crisis emerged and despite the DA's efforts, Dlamini has evaded every opportunity for accountability."

Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Ronnie Mamoepa, said the deputy president did not receive any official communication from the DA, and could not respond to the matter for now.

Dlamini was invited by Scopa to answer questions on fruitless and wasteful expenditure within Sassa, as well as on the invalid Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract.

CPS has said it is ready to continue paying out social grants after its current contract expires on March 31 -– but Treasury first has to give the go-ahead.

Net1 CEO Serge Belamant told Xolani Gwala on 702 on Monday morning that terms of such an extension had been agreed between CPS, the South African Social Security Agency and the Department of Social Development last week, and the agreement was as good as signed.

CPS is a subsidiary of Net1.

Belamant said there was an agreement with Sassa on "two very, very important issues, one of them were commercial terms going forward, and the other set of terms is what we were going to do on behalf of Sassa in order for them to take in-house a number of technical processes which we currently perform".

The parties' respective attorneys were given the terms to finalise the agreement, which Belamant said would be signed early this week.

Sassa acting CEO Thamo Mzobe on Sunday said there was no "signed-off contract and a service level agreement" with CPS yet.

The Black Sash said in a statement on Monday morning that a "revised or new contract between Sassa and CPS" was the only way to ensure that grant beneficiaries were paid on April 1. It said Parliament failed to hold Sassa accountable.

The Black Sash will be going to the Constitutional Court on March 15 to for such a contract to be designed "to protect grant beneficiaries".

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has previously said an extended or new contract with CPS would be unlawful and uncompetitive, contrary to the requirements of section 217 of the Constitution and a deviation from prescribed procurement procedures.

Gordhan said such a deviation couldn't be sanctioned unless the Constitutional Court agrees to it.

Treasury did not immediately respond to a request for comment.