The Constitutional Court handed down a stern judgment against the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) on Friday morning.
Here are seven hard-hitting quotes from Justice Johan Froneman:
1. "Since April 2016 the responsible functionaries of Sassa have been aware that it could not comply with the undertaking to the court that it would be able to pay social grants from 1 April 2017. The minister says she was informed of this only in October 2016."
2. "There is no indication on the papers that she showed any interest in Sassa's progress before that. Despite repeated warnings from advising counsel and [Cash Paymaster Services], neither Sassa nor the minister took any steps to inform the court of the problems they were experiencing. Nor did they see fit to approach the court for authorisation to regularise the situation."
3. "This court and country as a whole are now confronted with a situation where the executive arm of government admits that it is not able to fulfil its constitutional and statutory obligations to provide for the social assistance of its people. And, in the deepest most shaming of ironies, it now seeks to rely on a private corporate entity, with no discernible commitment to transformative empowerment in its own management structures, to get it out of this predicament."
4. "Sassa will not be able to take over the payment of social grants by 1 April 2017 and may not be able to do so for some time to come."
5. "Until the forced reply to this court's directions, there has certainly been no reciprocal comity from the minister and Sassa in respect of the remedial order and withdrawal of the supervisory order, towards the judicial branch of government. It must be considered whether their conduct went beyond that."
6. "There must be public accounting for how this was allowed to happen. Accountability is a central value of the Constitution."
7. "The sole reason for the litigation leading to this judgment is the failure of Sassa and the minister to keep their promise to this court and the people of South Africa. -- News24