Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini's "smallanyana skeletons" came back to haunt her on Friday morning.
"Endangering the lives of more than 17-million people is not smallanyana skeletons," DA Gauteng MPL Makashule Gana told party supporters during a march to the Department of Social Development's offices in Pretoria.
"These are big skeletons. Let all the skeletons come out."
He called on Dlamini to make public all agreements with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), the current service provider responsible for grant payments. Its invalid contract ends on March 31, and Dlamini has yet to clarify how the needy will get their grants come April 1.
The protesters handed over a memorandum with a list of demands.
In an interview with the SABC in 2016, Dlamini referred to "smallanyana skeletons" when she cautioned ANC members against airing the party's dirty laundry in the media.
"All of us in the NEC have our smallanyana skeletons and we don't want to take out skeletons because all hell will break loose," she said at the time.
Gana said it was not only a crisis Dlamini had created, but that the ANC was also responsible.
All ANC leaders were "rotten and corrupt", he said.
"They should all vacate office. Bathabile Dlamini, Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa are corrupt. Ramaphosa is not going to save this country," Gana said.
DA national spokesperson, Refiloe Ntsekhe, said it would be a disaster if the grants were not paid on April 1.
Grants aren't gifts
"They are people in your community that need food so that they can take their medication. They are parents who get grants for their children.
"It is that mother that cannot breastfeed and she needs money for milk. Think about those gogos who are living in old age homes and pay to be there with the grant.
"Think about the vulnerable disabled people in our communities. These are the faces of the 17 million people, and unfortunately Bathabile Dlamini does not care."
She called on Dlamini to resign.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the R10bn paid to 17 million grant recipients every month was the reason why the sick and unemployed did not go to bed on empty stomachs.
"It is our immediate duty to ensure that every single child is cared for, fed, kept healthy and sent to school."
He said grants were not a gift from the ANC, unlike the food parcels it handed out during election campaigns.
"The only way you will lose it is if the ANC damages Sassa so much that they cannot even deliver your grant to you. That is what is about to happen.
"But the ANC wants you to believe the lie that they give you the grant. This is extremely important to the ANC, because it is all that stands between them and losing an election."
Maimane said Dlamini had had three years to find a solution to distributing the grants, but did nothing.
She knew the courts, Treasury and Parliament would have no choice but to ask CPS, whose contract with the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) the Constitutional Court declared invalid in 2014, to carry on distributing grants in 2017, he said.
The Constitutional Court on Wednesday asked Sassa and the department to provide it with clarity on the matter by 16:00 on Monday. -- News24Suggest a correction