18/07/2017 07:22 SAST | Updated 18/07/2017 07:22 SAST

Civics, Opposition Parties Say Magwaza Was Pushed Out Of Sassa

Concerns have been raised that Thokozani Magwaza was pushed out of his position at Sassa.

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The removal of Sassa CEO Thokozani Mogwaza has raised the alarm for opposition parties, who say his exit jeopardises the takeover of the payment of social grants by the South Africa Post Office (Sapo).

Corruption Watch, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) have all raised concerns about the development.

Mogwaza accepted an exit package on Monday. While he has not given reasons for leaving in public, opposition parties say it is clear he was pushed out. He had reportedly received death threats after cancelling a contract for "workstreams", or advisors, worth R50 million.

"The Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini and the CEO of Sassa, Mr Thokozani Magwaza, have agreed to terminate the services of the latter after a consultative process led by the head of legal services, advocate Nkosinathi Dladla, in terms of the provisions of his contract of employment," Dlamini's spokesperson, Lumka Oliphant said.

Eyewitness News (EWN) reported on Tuesday that the Inkatha Freedom Party's Liezl van der Merwe said, "He's been pushed out and again, it's more warning signs and red lights pertaining to CPS, Sassa and the Post Office."

The DA said it would be demanding reasons from Dlamini over Magwaza's exit.

Corruption Watch's David Lewis told TimesLive that it would have been better if Dlamini had left instead of Magwaza.

"Everybody would have been much better off if the minister‚ and not the CEO‚ had resigned. He had to resign because of the impossible situation he was in as long as she was minister. She has worked to undermine Sassa," he said.

Scopa chairman reportedly said the committee was shocked by the development.

"Mr Magwaza is hardly a year in office. He has left at the time when we were managing the transition from Cash Paymaster Services to the South African Post Office. We think this shouldnot have happened for the sake of stability."

"As Scopa‚ we are shocked and angry at what is evidently brazen lawlessness by a criminal gang of rent seekers who want to intimidate Mr Magwaza out of his job so they can frustrate the Sassa/Sapo contract and instead open the door for the looting of public funds."

Outa's portfolio director Dominique Msibi said the organisation also believed that Magwaza was pushed, according to IOL.

"We read into this development that he was pushed out after his work environment was made unbearable with death threats, the tension with minister Dlamini, Magwaza's closure of the minister's lucrative workstreams and his attempts to get the Post Office to take over the social grants delivery."