In The News South Africa

Zuma meets with ministers in attempt to resolve social grant crisis

Steps are being taken to ensure that the 17 million social grant beneficiaries receive their grants on April 1, the presidency said on Saturday.

President Jacob Zuma on Saturday afternoon met Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to “receive a progress report on the readiness to pay social grant beneficiaries” from April 1, the presidency said in a statement.

Zuma believed the “matters are solvable”. He had directed the two ministers to mandate their technical teams to work on the outstanding issues in order to ensure that social grant beneficiaries received their grants on April 1.

They assured Zuma that everything possible would be done to find solutions, the presidency said.

DA spokeswoman Bridget Masango said “Dlamini has utterly failed to ensure that Sassa was ready to take over the distribution of grants at the end of this month when the current invalid CPS contract comes to an end and has allowed the situation to reach crisis point.

Dlamini cannot be trusted with the livelihoods of 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans. The president has more than enough cause to remove her and for the sake of millions of South Africans the DA calls on him to do so immediately,” Masango said.

Parliament’s public accounts standing committee (Scopa) also commented on how the department was “clearly falling apart”.

Scopa had noted with anger the resignation of recently appointed Dangor over the Sassa debacle, Scopa chairman Themba Godi said.

“In our brief interactions with Mr Dangor he had proven himself to be an honest and hardworking civil servant. He was one of the many officials in the department and in Sassa who have been frustrated by minister Bathabile Dlamini’s heavy handed interference in Sassa’s administrative matters,” he said.

Clearly, the CPS contract negotiations had been handled to the disadvantage of the state and grant recipients, especially around the issue of deductions which had been a major thorn for recipients. Dlamini now had to take full responsibility for this. “The department is clearly falling apart,” Godi said.

“As Scopa we are looking forward to meeting with the minister on Tuesday so that all these matters can be fully ventilated. It is now becoming very difficult to explain the capability of the minister to effectively run the department and discharge of her responsibilities. Scopa cannot be quiet or indifferent to these levels of mismanagement which create unease and anxiety in the nation, and comes at a huge financial cost to the state,” Godi said.
– African News Agency (ANA)

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