The minister of social development Bathabile Dlamini and the CEO of the South African Social Services Agency (SASSA) have violated their constitutional duties and are in contempt of a court. That is a call made by the Democratic Alliance in a constitutional court application where it seeks to join the social grant payment matter.
If granted the call like the one which found that President Jacob Zuma violated his oath of office in the Nkandla matter could embarrass South Africa’s ruling party the ANC. The DA seeks to join the matter following a failure by the social development ministry to follow a court order on the social grant payment service contract.
Here follows the full DA statement:
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today filed its founding affidavit at the Constitutional Court seeking to be joined as an applicant in the matter currently before the court relating to SASSA’s abysmal failure to prepare for the payment of social grants to 17 million South Africans from 1 April 2017 onwards.
In just 29 days, the current agreement between SASSA and service provider NET1/CPS will come to an end. The dodgy contract with NET1/CPS was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2014, and for the last three years Minister Bathabile Dlamini has sat on her hands while the livelihoods of 17 million people hangs in the balance.
It is clear that the social grants crisis was avoidable and has been manufactured by the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini. The only logical conclusion is that this delay was deliberately manufactured for corrupt purposes. It is for this reason that the Constitutional Court – the highest court in the land – must get to the bottom of this issue.
As part of our application, we have sought a declaratory order from the court confirming that the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, the CEO of the SASSA and the SASSA, violated their duties in terms of sections 165(4) and (5) and section 195 of the Constitution. We are further seeking a declaration that the minister has violated her oath of office in failing to perform the functions of her office with honour, dignity and to the best of her ability.
As the minister does not consider herself to be subject to Parliamentary oversight, and in the absence of Presidential responsiveness, the DA has also requested that the Court direct the minister and CEO of the SASSA to file responding affidavits within 15 days of this order explaining, inter alia:
• What steps were taken by them to comply with the court’s order of 17 April 2014;
• When exactly they realised that SASSA would not be in a position to take over from CPS; and
• Whether they at all times kept the NA informed of the true and correct status and progress of the issues raised concerning the payment of social grants after 1 April 2017.
Finally, the DA has applied to have the Court direct the CEO of SASSA to file a responding affidavit within 15 days of the order, in which he explains why he should not be held in contempt of the Court’s order of 17 April 2014.
Minister Dlamini’s catastrophic incompetence has placed the lives of 17 million South Africans in jeopardy, leaving them stranded and without a life line. SASSA’s current state of crisis is entirely self-engineered, and was easily avoided had the minister shown a shred of commitment to the needs of vulnerable grant dependents.
The DA will not rest until we have absolute clarity on who will take responsibility for paying social grants to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.
Leader of the Democratic Alliance