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Spotlight to shine on Sassa, Dlamini again in Parliament

Cape Town - Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini will have another chance to explain the ongoing Sassa debacle to Parliament on Tuesday.

The minister has been summoned to appear before Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts on Tuesday to explain their preparedness for April 1, chairperson Themba Godi said.

The current grants payment contract expires in March, and the department is still in negotiations with the service provider to sign a new contract.

The committee wrote a letter to the minister as the political head, after the department failed to give satisfactory answers in the last committee meeting.

Last week, the minister failed to attend the meeting in Parliament, which angered political parties.

CPS deal

Godi on Monday said the meeting would continue, with or without Dlamini.

“As the political head, she is the one responsible to come and talk to us about what led to this debacle,” he said.

He said that if she chose to not participate in the meeting tomorrow, the most decent thing would be for her to reply to the committee in writing.

The committee would have to decide what to do next if Dlamini did not show up, Godi said.

On Sunday, Dlamini and her team called a press conference where she refused to answer questions on the challenges facing their department, including the resignation of department director general Zane Dangor.

All she would say, over and over, is that grants would be paid come April 1.

“We are here to explain to the nation about the 1st of April and it should be clear to all of us that on the 1st of April we are paying grants.

“And the most important people in this whole thing are our ordinary grant beneficiaries. They will get their grant on the 1st of April and we are sure about that,” Dlamini said.

The minister, however, would not say how, or who would be paying these grants, and instead again said they had not reached a deal with current service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

This spotlight on Sassa is due to continue, with Parliament to deal with a draft resolution by the IFP’s Liezel van der Merwe on the looming South African Social Services Agency grant payments crisis. DM

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