Parliament’s budget review and recommendations report on the department of social development was approved in the National Assembly on Tuesday, but not without opposition parties lambasting Minister Bathabile Dlamini for her failure to empower the South African Post Office to take over the payment of social grants.
The Democratic Alliance were the first to make a declaration, with its Member of Parliament (MP) Evelyn Wilson saying the department of social development and its entities were being “led by a minister who continuously shows the poor and vulnerable the middle finger”.
“The department and its entities have billion of rands in irregular expenditure. What action has been taken – nada, zip,” said Wilson.
Economic Freedom Fighter MP Ntombovuyo Mente went further, criticising the minister for not concluding negotiations with the post office so it can take over the payment of grants from Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). The CPS contract was declared unlawful by South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court.
“This despicable behaviour by the minister and the acting CEO Pearl Bhengu to frustrate the process…is nothing but attempt to bring back the corrupt CPS by the back door,” said Mente.
“You [Dlamini] are not going to outsource on our watch….we are going to take you to court…..”
The contract with CPS was meant to end in March this year, but the failure of the department to find another service provider forced the Constitutional Court to approve the extension of the contract for a year.
With less than 100 days before the CPS contract again expires, the department has yet to sign a new contract.
Dlamini and the South African Social Security Agency claim the post office only meets one out of four requirement to pay grants. The post office disputed this. National Treasury is now doing an evaluation to check the capability of the post office to take over welfare grants payments.