South Africa’s Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini wants R6 billion and about 5 years to fix Sassa (South African Social Security Agency) and empower it with the ability to take total control of the grant payment system.
facing the parliamentary portfolio committee on social development on Wednesday, Minister Dlamini inferred that it’s delusional to expect that Sassa would take over the grant payment system completely in 2018.
You’ll recall that the Constitutional Court gave Sassa additional 10 months to start using its Cash Paymaster Systems to deliver social grants.
The court pointed out that Sassa was established for that purpose and, that it isn’t sensible for it to employ another company to provide the service.
Nonetheless, Minister Dlamini is contending that it’s going to take about 5 years and R6 billion to get Sassa do the job it was created for.
“Yes,” she said, “the company paying has to go, we agree. But, this is going to be a five-year process and the estimation we have is plus minus R6 billion.
“We have agreed that it’s not going to take 12 months to bring the whole programme to its totality,” remarked the Minister.
The Minister argued that Sassa doesn’t have the knowledge needed for managing the grant payment system completely on its own.
“We don’t have staff who understand biometrics at Sassa. We don’t have banking, payment, costing, modelling, cyber risk assessment,” she said.
Thereafter, Dlamini urged South Africans to see the R6 billion involved as a process of investment.
“Once Sassa starts paying, you won’t be paying this amount of money,” she indicated. “What South Africans should do is look at the whole process as an investment,” added the Minister.
Meanwhile, Sassa chief executive Thokozani Magwaza contradicted the Minister saying the complete takeover could happen between two to three years.
Reacting to this development, the Democratic Alliance (DA) party disclosed that it will submit parliamentary questions to get the exact details of how Dlamini arrived at this alarming figure.
Specifically, DA wants the Minister to provide explicit detail on the following questions:
- How did the Minister arrive at this R6 billion figure?
- Did this price tag increase because SASSA was unready to distribute social grants at the 31 March 2017 deadline, which was a crisis manufactured by Dlamini?
- What measures will the department take to ensure that its plan remains in line with the Public Finance Management Act, Act 1 of 1999?
The party wailed that Dlamini’s doesn’t care about the poorest people in South Africa saying:
“…She saw fit to purchase a brand new luxury vehicle worth more than R1 million. Dlamini’s claim that buying an ultra-luxury vehicle was ‘unavoidable’ is a disgrace in the face of growing poverty and unemployment in South Africa.
“It is glaringly obvious that Dlamini loves feathering her nest with luxury cars and expensive hotel stays, whilst millions of our people live in absolute poverty.
“The fact is that Dlamini is not fit to be a champion of the millions of vulnerable South Africans who rely on her to provide their safety net,” DA proclaimed.