08/06/2017 08:13 SAST | Updated 08/06/2017 08:13 SAST

Bathabile Dlamini Appointed Advisers Illegally To Deal With Sassa Crisis

Treasury says the minister instituted the controversial "workstreams" illegally and Sassa's CEO says they take instruction directly from her.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini in the National Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa, in May 2017.
Esa Alexander / The Times / Gallo Images / Getty Images
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini in the National Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa, in May 2017.

The so-called workstreams instituted by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, which formed parallel structures to the operations of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and reported directly to the minister, were appointed irregularly.

Daily Maverick reported that Treasury Director of Governance, Monitoring and Compliance Solly Tshitangano wrote to Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza on May 25 to say that the procurement of the workstreams did not comply with Treasury's supply chain management process.

The workstreams were responsible for dealing with the social grants crisis and finding ways in which Sassa could provide social grants to millions of South Africans without the intervention of service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

The Constitutional Court ruled previously that the CPS tender to distribute the grants was unlawful but gave Sassa until March 2017 to appoint a new provider. The CPS tender had been extended.

Sassa reportedly said it had to deviate from Treasury's supply chain management procedures when appointing the workstream advisers because of the urgency of the Constitutional Court deadline.

But Treasury rejected this, Daily Maverick reported.

"The reason for continuity is not justified because the advisers were not initially appointed through SCM process and were not going to continue rendering advisory roles," said Tshitangano.

The workstreams had previously recommended a complicated in-house system whereby Sassa would distribute the grants, including recommendations that it acquire ATMs and produce its own biometric bank cards.

The plan was considered unworkable and CPS was reappointed.

Magwaza previously blamed the workstreams for detailing Sassa's work, Daily Maverick reported. In an affidavit to the Constitutional Court on May 17, he said the workstreams continued to take instructions from Dlamini directly.