It has emerged that the Social Development’s legal costs have climbed to R30 million under the watch of Minister Bathabile Dlamini.
As exposed by the department in a response to a Democratic Alliance (DA) question, Social Development has spent almost R30 million on legal costs since the 2103/14 financial year.
While Social Development’s legal costs for 2013 and 2014 was R10.2 million, the amount climbed to R13 million the following year and, in the 2015/16 financial year, it was R3.3 million.
Minister Dlamini’s office contended that the amount was mainly spent on appeals against decisions to reject applications for social assistance.
From our gatherings, the appeals are often instituted against SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) when it reject grant applications that don’t meet stipulated criteria.
Few days ago, DA indicated that it will submit the affidavits of former director-general of the Department of Social Development (DSD), Zane Dangor, and SASSA CEO Thokozani Magwaza to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Ms Rosemary Capa, to strengthen the call for a Parliamentary inquiry into the Social Grants Crisis.
Meanwhile, other parliamentary questions DA submitted to all national departments revealed that about R13.9 million has been spent on ‘sponsorship’ of various institutions between 2014 and 2017.
In a statement DA issued about the issue, the party stated:
“The total ‘sponsorship’ so far is as follows: Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut (R 74 563); South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (R 3 725 624), Black Management Forum (R1 151 393), Black Business Council (R 8 050 000), Business Unity South Africa (R 22 800) and the Progressive Business Forum (R 840 000).
And the biggest ‘sponsors’ so far are as follows: Department of Trade and Industry (R 7 000 000), Transnet (R 5 059 002), Eskom (R 1 501 763), and Denel (R 303 615).”
Commenting, David Maynier DA’s Shadow Minister of Finance lamented that it’s not cool for cash strapped state-owned enterprises to sponsor private institutions with public funds.
As such, Maynier disclosed that he will request of Kimi Makwetu, the Auditor-General to investigate the matter when he’s done gathering all the facts available.