A statement issued by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on the social grant payment saga shows that gloves are off within the the tripartite alliance anchored by South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress.
Cosatu joins another member of the alliance, the South African Communist Party (SACP) in issuing crushing critique against certain elements within the governing party and towards the direction of President Jacob Zuma’s allies. The Cosatu statement does not name individuals but is obviously taking aim at the minister of social development Bathabile Dlamini who is also President of the ANC Women’s League.
Cosatu is making a follow up statement after it was attacked by the ANCWL for its earlier statement that called for the axing of the minister of social development. Here follows the Cosatu statement:
Factionalism seems to have dulled the ANC Women’s League perception of reality
The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the absurd allegations made by the ANC Women’s League in their response to our call for the resignation or dismissal of the Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini and the senior managers of the department following the Sassa crisis. In a strong field this is their most ridiculous statement so far, and for an organisation that claims to represent people, who will be mostly affected by the Department of Social Development and Sassa’s bungling, they have proved to be abnormally unreflective.
We admire their capacity to offer full-throated defence for bureaucratic arrogance and bungling, indifference, and flat-out incompetence; they have reached the pinnacle of audacity in scribbling together and dishing up the most fanatical mystifying nonsense.
It is perplexing that a Women’s League does not seem angry or concerned that there are 17 million of South Africa’s poorest, who are likely to not receive their grant payments on the 1st of April 2017 because of this ineptitude. These are amongst the most vulnerable groups of South Africans, and they include the elderly, the disabled as well as children below the age of 18. Research has proved that most of the social grants are spent on food, meaning that a disruption to this social security system could be catastrophic and ultimately life threatening.
We have not heard any loutish interjections or expressions of indignation from the Women’s League after revelations that Sassa failed to deal decisively with the irregular expenditure and irregular tender procedures, which have resulted in more than R1 billion in wasteful expenditure. This mismanagement poses a real threat to the livelihoods of 17 million grant beneficiaries.
Their response is nothing but a discourse of conspiracy that feeds into their persecution complex and exposes their warped and factionalised thinking. Most of this is political theatre, not even a distinguished theatre ,unfortunately. Factionalism seems to have dulled the League’s perception of reality. The COSATU CEC decision was unanimous in its decision and the silly attempts by the League to partition the COSATU CEC into factional camps is a sign of desperation.
We will leave the mindless business of canonization and the worship of leaders to the fanatics, and reiterate our position that the actions of both Sassa and the Department of Social Development have caused alarm and apprehension amongst our people all across the country, and have given considerable comfort to our enemies as the Alliance. The Minister needs to take political responsibility for this mess by resigning or she should be fired.
We insist on this because there have been times before this saga, where government’s wisdom to keep Minister Dlamini as the minister has not been obvious to the federation.
We have not forgotten that Minister Bathabile Dlamini was previously accused by senior managers at Sassa of meddling in an attempt to control R300-million worth of food parcel tenders. This is the same Minister in response to a DA parliamentary question, who said that R753 a month was adequate for social grant beneficiaries .She also spent a night at the Oyster Box in Durban paying R11 000-a-night using taxpayer’s money. We are still waiting for the Women’s League ill-tempered response on these issues.
COSATU strongly believes that we need to elect our representatives then hold them in healthy contempt and not worship them. We want to remind the League that if you visit upon the people of South Africa things they cannot bear; it will all end up in tears. If some of these embarrassing things are not fixed by the movement, there will be no deployments in 2019 that the league seems obsessed about.
We are happy to hear that the cabinet is paying special attention to this matter.
In defence of Sassa and the Department of Social Development , we do not want to believe they are this incompetent , which is why we believe that government needs to go further and investigate the underlying reasons behind this ineptitude. They need to invite law enforcement agencies to look deeper into this matter for any indiscretions and malfeasance.
COSATU also demands for the cabinet to push for total eradication of outsourcing of government functions, reduce or eliminate the tendering system and stop the agencification of the state. Outsourcing is wasteful, threatens jobs and makes public control and accountability impossible, therefore providing a breeding swamp for corruption and nepotism to thrive. The Post Office and Postbank should be given the responsibility to distribute social grants going forward.
Issued by COSATU