Okay, the headline is quite misleading, the R20 million was reportedly approved for 5 events in KwaZulu-Natal and not a party. But, what’s the difference? For all we know, saying the money was approved for “events” may have been a subtle way to get the party going without raising eyebrows.
Anyway, the Democratic Alliance party have always been nosey about the activities and spending of government parastatals, they wouldn’t let SASSA party away R20 million without throwing some shades.
From what we learnt, the DA confirmed from a documentation that the Acting SASSA CEO, Ms Pearl Bhengu hastily approved a request for R20 million for 5 events in KZN. It is said that SASSA is claiming the events were meant to create awareness on the new grant payment system and has been branded Beneficiary Education and Awareness Campaigns on the New Payment System and Foster Care Mop-up Project.
DA expressed that the events aren’t only exorbitant but as well dubious.
“We…question why SASSA can host awareness events when the agreement between SASSA and the South African Post Office (SAPO) was not yet finalised at the time.
We also have reason to believe that Ms Bhengu and Acting SASSA General Manager, Armstrong Malope, have possibly flouted supply chain management procedures,” said the party.
Having said that, the opposition party detailed that SASSA CEO received the R20 million request on 4 December and hastily approved it the next day.
“The agreement between SASSA and SAPO was only announced on 10 December (and) the request itself is marred by irregularities.
“The fact that all these events are scheduled to be held in KZN from 12 December to 23 December 2017 also raises eyebrows. If the purpose was truly to create awareness why are all the events being hosted in one province?” Asked the party.
With the foregoing, DA asserted that the events are only a smokescreen to extend the dodging Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s patronage networks in KZN. Already, the party has written to SASSA CEO demanding an immediate cancellation of the remaining 3 events scheduled for 18th, 22nd and 23rd December.
The party also asked for full information on the following:
- Supply chain procedures and an explanation of the real intentions behind the events;
- The full list of contractors who received payments;
- Why the events were approved 5 days before a new payment system was approved;
- And why the events are exclusive to KZN.
Meanwhile, the party will be exploring possible charges against the SASSA CEO and General Manager for flouting supply chain management procedures.
“The fact that Ms Bhengu hastily approved these events show that she might not be suitable for her position as Acting SASSA CEO.
“R20 million is an astonishing figure and could finance more than 52 000 child grants. (We) will not allow for any further breaches of procedures at SASSA.
“Under Ms Bhengu’s and Dodging Dlamini’s leadership, SASSA failed and delayed institutionalising the payment of social grants and once again endangered the livelihoods of 17 million vulnerable South Africans,” stated DA.