South Africa’s Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is being lashed again. This time, she spent R3.5 million of her department funds on hiring bodyguards to protect her children.
This was revealed when the Minister and South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) officials appeared before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to present plans related to social grant distributions.
Members of Parliament (MPs) at the gathering referred to the auditor general’s discovery about the Minister spending the Social Development funds on protecting her children.
The MPs upheld that it’s a wasteful and fruitless expenditure. As such, they expressed that it’s ideal for the Minister to pay back the R3.5 million her department spent on bodyguards for her children.
Minister Dlamini contended that the spending was necessary because she believed her kids were in danger. She disclosed that she received disturbing calls from prison and, that her home has been burgled thrice.
“(We made the arrangement for bodyguards) because government processes take a long period,” explained the Minister.
The previous week, Minister Dlamini raised eyebrows when she told parliamentary portfolio committee on social development that it would take R6 billion and about 5 years to fix Sassa and empower it with the ability to take total control of the grant payment system.
Today, the Minister failed to explain why the amount is needed. Responding to question about the financial projection she made, the Minister said:
“I really find it is unfair because we are being asked a question and we make an estimation out of the work we have done and we say clearly this is going to stretch over a period of five years.
“It was very clear and we are still going to go back to the portfolio committee and the select committee and specify or give a proper budget on the whole programme and therefore Scopa will come when the right time comes,” added the Minister.