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4 Reasons Why It Should Be Dlamini Leaving Over Sassa, And Not Magwaza

Corruption allegations, questionable spending and other reasons why Bathabile Dlamini should not be in charge of social development.

18/07/2017 11:47 SAST | Updated 18/07/2017 11:49 SAST
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Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini during the African National Congress (ANC) 5th national policy conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre on July 01, 2017 in Johannesburg.

On Monday, the Social Development Department issued a statement saying Thokozani Magwaza will no longer serve as CEO of the South African Social Security Agency. This happened after a consultative process led by the legal services of Advocate Nkosinathi Dladla.

According to the statement, Magwaza resigned after reaching a mutual agreement with the Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. The former CEO had been receiving death threats after cancelling a multibillion-rand deal that was introduced by Dlamini, City Press reported on Sunday.

There were also reports of Magwaza allegedly being pushed by a third party to accept a lucrative exit package.

Magwaza was due to testify against Dlamini in a public inquiry about her role in the Sassa pension payment debacle. Affidavits with counter allegations between Dlamini her ex-director general, Zane Dangor, and Magwaza were due to be the centre of further investigations ordered by the Constitutional Court to determine whether Dlamini should be personally liable for the social grants payment debacle.

Dlamini is no stranger to controversy. Earlier this year, she attended Karabo Mokoena's funeral, who was allegedly killed by her reportedly abusive boyfriend. Dlamini at the time said "children who love money" often don't know they are in abusive relationships. The minister has also been in hot water regarding her department's spending on luxury hotel stays, as well as the purchase of two brand new luxury cars in the financial year of the Sassa crisis.

But it is perhaps the Sassa crisis, where at one point about 17 million people were likely not to receive grants after March 31, 2017, that became the largest talking point around her leadership.

1. Corruption allegations around her related to the Sassa debacle

There's evidence pointing to illegal dealings by Dlamini concerning the contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), reported amaBhungane. Dlamini had allowed CPS to procure the contract to give out grants regardless of a Constitutional Court ruling in 2014 which declared the contract invalid. A division of CPS, Net1, won the Sassa tender to distribute grant payments in 2012. The ConCourt ordered Sassa to reissue the tender by October 2015 as it had been "irregular".

2. Many want her to leave her position

Cosatu, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Corruption Watch, Cope, the DA and even the Methodist Church have all called for her to be fired after the Sassa debacle. Dlamini has been described as incompetent for her role in the Sassa debacle. Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan also criticized Dlamini for dropping the ball concerning the social grant crisis. Speaking at a memorial for freedom fighter Ahmed Kathrada, Gordhan said "I never attack a colleague, but today I break that rule," he said. "There comes a limit to the lies. Minister Dlamini clearly dropped the ball on grants and must take responsibility, instead of blaming Sassa CEO [and] Treasury."

3. Her department's spending is questionable

After the Sassa debacle, Dlamini still went ahead and bought a R1.3 Million luxury German car and also spent R1.1 million on an SUV for her deputy, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu. This was at odds with the National Treasury's austerity measures introduced by axed finance minister Pravin Gordhan to curb wasteful and unnecessary spending of public funds. She claimed the purchases were warranted, as the previous ministerial cars were bought in 2009, and they needed new cars to travel around Pretoria.

In May, it was revealed that Dlamini had spent R3,5 million on private security for herself and her daughter. The bill for the private security was paid by Sassa.

4. She doesn't bother to turn up at Parliament

Parliament's selected committee on social services had to cancel its meeting on social development's upcoming budget vote after both the minister and deputy minister failed to attend. She once skipped two meetings in one week.