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Sassa debacle smells of corruption – Cosatu

By News24 2 March 2017

Johannesburg - Cosatu has called on President Jacob Zuma to intervene in the ongoing South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) crisis and, if possible, to get rid of Department of Social Services Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

“This is not just an administrative bungling, but a political own goal that smells of corruption,” said Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali.

He was speaking at a media briefing at the labour federation’s headquarters on Thursday, following its central executive committee, which took place throughout the week.

There are fears that millions of South Africans might go without social grants at the end of the month when the social security agency’s invalid contract with Cash Paymaster Services expires, as per the order set down by the Constitutional Court.

“Cosatu is appealing to the president to intervene and heads need to roll at Sassa,” said Ntshalintshali.

Political responsibility

He said Dlamini and her team need to also take political responsibility for the crisis.

Ntshalintshali said Dlamini and senior leaders at the department had failed to act decisively when it came to irregular expenditure and tender processes.

Cosatu also rejected suggestions that the department outsource the service.

“Outsourcing is wasteful, threatens jobs and makes public control and accountability impossible,” he said.

He added that this provided a “breeding swamp” for corruption and nepotism to thrive.

Ntshalintshali said it was not easy for the federation to call for a minister to step down.

“But the fact that they did not tender properly for two years comes to only one conclusion for us,” he said.

While the proposed minimum wage of R20 an hour did not address the minimum living standards of an average South African household and still fell short of the federation’s proposed figure, it was still a significant starting base toward a living wage, Cosatu said.

The federation said this was a step in the right direction for the country and a victory for the workers and their federation. DM

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