Opposition parties on Tuesday told Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to resign during a fiery debate in Parliament on the social grants crisis.
Dlamini took to the podium during the debate on Tuesday to cheers from a gallery packed with ANC Women’s League supporters.
After she finished her speech, opposition MPs took turns to blast Dlamini’s handling of the crisis after failing to answer the Constitutional Court’s questions this week.
IFP MP Liesl van der Merwe, who tabled the motion for debate, said a dodgy tender and a rogue minister was at the heart of the issue.
“The minister has defied the ConCourt, has defied Treasury regulations, has broken her oath of office, and placed at risk the most vulnerable who she’s meant to protect.
“Is that enough to get her removed from her position?”
Van Der Merwe said Dlamini should face sanctions for misleading the portfolio committee of social development, and that she and her ministry had been “captured”.
It was yet to be discovered why the department is hell bent on aligning with a foreign, white-owned company like current grants service provider Cash Paymaster Services, who “faked their BEE credentials”.
She also said Speaker Baleka Mbete was responsible for protecting Dlamini.
DA MP Bridget Masango said it was blatantly clear that Dlamini had done all she could not to produce any new contract before the Constitutional Court for scrutiny.
“It is also clear as day that this minister is desperate to ensure that CPS keeps this lucrative contract at all costs.”
She said SASSA CEO Thokozani Magwaza told the media that Dlamini blocked all his efforts to report back to the Constitutional Court.
“To be playing games like this, with 17 million South Africans, at this critical stage is scandalous and should see her removed immediately.”
EFF MP Ntombovuyo Mente said it was only a “sick government” who would put 17 million people in peril.
“We are facing here the money laundering scheme of CPS, Grindrod and Sassa,” Mente said.
“The greatest threat is a minister who is willing to be in contempt of court to keep a corrupt contract which benefits their friends and families.
She called on Dlamini to step down with immediate effect.
“A key government service should not be outsourced. You must go.”
IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa had the most fiery of debates, being interrupted multiple times by ANC MPs on frivolous points of order.
He said the minister has aided and abetted the crisis for three years. He said Sassa lied to the court when saying they had the capacity to deal with the matter, but now they don’t.
“The minister is no longer fit for purpose.”
‘As guilty as the minister’
FF Plus MP Pieter Mulder said that, as Dlamini sat there in the House, she was in contempt of court.
He called the ANC caucus useless, and compared the caucus’s defence of Dlamini to its defence of President Jacob Zuma during the Nkandla saga in Parliament.
ANC MP and social development portfolio committee chairperson Rose Capa defended Dlamini and the ANC.
She said the country’s past caused many black South Africans to be under-educated, without jobs and dependent on social grants.
Capa said the department was trying to rectify the mistakes, but opposition MPs are trying to come up with new options instead of allowing them to work.
Agang SA MP Andries Plouamma said they should not take Capa seriously, as she is “as guilty as the minister”.
He said Capa was serving as a security guard to protect the minister. Plouamma said Dlamini was the worst minister ever produced by the ANC.
APC MP and Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said the minister and Sassa must be held personally responsible for the “well-orchestrated ruse”.
He said the scheme must be given to the Post Office, as it is a public institution.