Members of Parliament are strongly kicking for Social Development minister Bathabile Dlamini to pay back the whopping R3.5 million her department spent on her children’s private security.
The honourable members found out about the ‘wasteful’ and outrageous expenditure while digging deep into the auditor general’s findings on the department.
And when Bathabile, along with South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) officials, appeared before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to brief them on future plans to disburse social grants, as well as on the agency’s finances, the matter was brought to light.
The controversial minister, however, insisted that she decided to hire bodyguards for her children after her family was threatened by someone in prison via the telephone and after hoodlums broke into their home three times.
Dlamini’s explanation didn’t go down well with the MPs, who described the move as fruitless and outrageous. Economic Freedom Fighters’ MP Veronica Mente buttressed that the minister’s department shouldn’t have sponsored the move using taxpayers’ money.
Earlier reports have it that an internal report on the matter was forwarded to the National Treasury and the Department of Social Development’s financial misconduct board.
Now, if the board finds Dlamini guilty, she would be forced to foot the bill.
Meanwhile, the minister failed to give concrete answers on why her department needs R6 billion to prepare the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to take over the payment of welfare grants.
The question was fired at her by Democratic Alliance MP Tim Breuteseth when she appeared before Scopa on Tuesday.
Last week, the minister announced that her department needs R6 million to take over social grant payment from private contractor Cash Paymaster Services, leading to a renewed outcry.
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Recently, Dlamini, who currently earns an annual salary of R2.3 million, bought an R1.3 million German sedan for her official use in Pretoria while her deputy Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu procured an R1.1 million SUV.
The R2.4 million splurge on the luxury vehicles for Dlamini is above the basic amount stipulated in the National Treasury’s austerity measures.