16/03/2017 09:36 SAST | Updated 16/03/2017 10:30 SAST

Chief Justice Mogoeng Calls Dlamini 'Incompetent'

The social development minister received an ear full from Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng at the Constitutional Court.

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA MAY 8(SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng presides at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, South Africa on May 8, 2012 where a hearing was held on President Jacob Zumas appointment of controversial prosecuting authority head Menzi Simelane. (Photo by Busisiwe Mbatha/Sowetan/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The Constitutional Court hauled Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini over the coals on Wednesday over the Sassa social grant debacle, with Chief Justice Mogoeng outright questioning her competency, Business Day reported.

"How do you get to the level where your clients make themselves look like they are incompetent?" the Chief Justice reportedly asked.

According to Business Day, Sassa said it knew that it would not be able to take over the payment of social grants from the current service provider, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) in April 2016. Dlamini reportedly said she was only informed of this in November 2016.

The paper quoted Mogoeng as saying:

"For you not to follow up now, to spend sleepless nights ensuring that that does not repeat itself is something that is difficult for any of us to understand... Is the minister forbidden from saying to Sassa: 'You embarrassed me enough. I want a report on a bi-weekly basis?"

Andrew Breitenbach SC, representing Dlamini reportedly said Sassa had been overambitious in thinking it could take over the payment of grants.

Opposition parties and activists have called the debacle the biggest crisis faced by the ANC since the dawn of democracy.

Meanwhile, CPS was unable to tell the court how much a new contract with Sassa would cost the state.