President Jacob Zuma will by Thursday, March 17th find his way to the house of parliament where he would entertain his first question and answer session with house members for the year.
Zuma has not appeared in the National Assembly since the three days debates regarding his 2017 State of the Nation Address in February.
At his return to the house, the president is expected to address several controversial issues within various government departments. This include the ongoing crisis in the social development department and whether it would affect the payment of social grants scheduled for April.
Zuma is also expected to address the controversial issues surrounding the appointment of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe as a member of the parliament and the growing call for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to resign.
During the proceeding which will begin at 14:00, Zuma will answer questions from IFP MP Liesl van Der Merwe who will ask if he plans to take disciplinary action against Dlamini for “allegedly leading her department into a national grant pay-out crisis”.
NFP MP Sicelo Mabika will ask if Zuma intends to appoint Molefe to an executive position – as has been largely rumored- despite his implication in matters discussed in the Public Protector’s State of Capture report.
ANC MP Priscilla Mantashe will ask what role labour and industry will play in tackling inequality and economic exclusion. While ANC MP Moses Masango will ask what role government is playing in helping end the conflict in Israel and Palestine.
Last week, Zuma expressed confidence in Minister Dlamini, saying that there is no crisis in her department and urging the country to calm down and patiently wait for their payment in April 1. But on Wednesday, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng made comments that seems to counter Zuma’s when he described the situation as a crisis, questioning why Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini did not do more to address it.
ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize who called for things to be done to ensure that the beneficiaries are paid on 1 April, said the grants saga threatens a social safety net meant to assist the most vulnerable people of this country.
He was speaking at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg on Wednesday night where he said the best way to resolve the Sassa issue going forward is to put the payment technology used by Cash Paymaster Services in the hands of government.
“Sassa needs to get the necessary technology to carry out the payments, even if it means buying it. Government needs to take responsibility for that,” he said, pointing out that this will solve the question of competitiveness.