INQUIRY FINDS SOUTH AFRICAN MINISTER FAILED TO DISCLOSE EXTENT OF INVOLVEMENT IN SOCIAL GRANT CRISIS

JOHANNESBURG– An inquiry established to help South Africa’s Constitutional Court determine the whether former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini should pay her own legal bill for a case involving the social grants crisis has found that she impeded her own cause by failing to disclose the extent of her involvement to the country’s highest court.

There were complaints that the Minister’s self-appointed work streams operated as a parallel structure, frustrating efforts by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to take over the payment of grants from a private company contracted to perform the function, Cash Paymaster Services.

Judge Bernard Ngoepe headed the inquiry to help the Constitutional Court determine whether the minister should pay the hefty legal bill from her own pocket. In 2015, Sassa promised to take over grant payments by April 2017, after the Constitutional Court invalidated its contract with Cash Paymaster Services.

At the eleventh hour, the Black Sash Trust raised alarm bells over Sassa’s inability to take over the payment of grants.

After narrowly averting the crisis, the Constitutional Court asked the Minister to explain why she should not be called to answer for the crisis and pay the costs from her own pocket.

She passed the buck to her subordinates, sparking an inquiry. Judge Ngoepe found that the minister was a less than satisfactory witness, who was evasive and even refused to answer pertinent questions.

He found that fear motivated the minister’s material non-disclosure to the Constitutional Court. Dlamii is now Minister of Women in the Presidency.

The court has given the parties one week to respond to Ngoepe’s report.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK