Social Grants Crisis: Social Development minister Bathabile Dlamini has apologized to over 10 million South African social grant beneficiaries and the country at large for the stress she has put them through.
“The minister wants to apologize to all the grant beneficiaries for all the anxiety and the fear that they went through in the past few weeks,” she said through her spokesperson Lumka Olifant.
This comes after the Constitutional Court ruled that the minister is to blame for the crisis that rocked the department since last month.
The court also ruled that the executive had failed in its constitutional duty and ordered Bathabile to explain to the court why she should not pay the costs of the application from her own pocket – she has until March 31 to do so.
In addition, the court ordered that the contract between Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) be extended for 12 months‚ under stringent conditions. It also ordered that the declaration of invalidity of the previous CPS contract be further suspended for a year.
Dlamini and Sassa were ordered to file affidavits every three months, mapping out how they plan to ensure that grants are paid when the CPS contract expires next year.
Meanwhile, the minister has promised to respect and adhere to the ruling made by the Constitutional Court, adding that her staff is still studying the judgment.
She also reiterated at a stakeholder engagement meeting in Kempton Park that grants would be paid come April 1.
“I have a close friend‚ a young man who always listens when I speak, and he will phone me if I say something wrong. He called me on Tuesday‚ and told me I had missed an important opportunity to say sorry.
The first thing I was supposed to do‚ is to apologize to South Africans. And I thought that was profound. I also want to again repeat‚ I am so sorry,” she said.
During the ruling, South Africa’s renowned Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng lambasted Sassa and Dlamini for their incompetence in handling the debacle.