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Public Protector pursuing two-pronged investigation into grant debacle

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Public Protector pursuing two-pronged investigation into grant debacle

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

20th March 2017

By: African News Agency

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is pushing ahead with a two-pronged investigation on the welfare grant crisis, in which the Constitutional Court intervened decisively last Friday.

Oupa Segalwe from the Public Protector’s office said the Chapter Nine institution would continue a probe into maladministration of grants, departing from the apparent failure of the department of social development and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to heed the court’s earlier directives on preparing for the State to take over grant payment.

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“The Public Protector wrote to the minister of social development and the director general there two weeks ago to say that she will be investigating maladministration there as far as the whole matter of undue delays on the part of the department and Sassa to implement the instructions of the court in this regard.”

The Constitutional Court on Friday, in a judgment scathing of Dlamini, ordered that Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) continue to disburse social grants to some 11-million recipients and that Sassa report to it quarterly on progress towards taking over this function.

It gave Dlamini until the end of the month to give reasons why she should not be held personally liable for the costs of all parties in the application brought by the Black Sash to ensure grants would continue to be paid, despite the expiry of a flawed contract with CPS on March 31.

Segalwe said Mkhwebane would add to her investigation a complaint laid by the Democratic Alliance, in which the opposition party asked her to probe the relationship between Dlamini and CPS.

“Those two investigations are being lumped together,” he said.

Segalwe said though Mkhwebane had initially also written to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to obtain information on possible alternative routes to ensure grant payment, other than retaining CPS, his involvement was no longer necessary following the court ruling.

“Since the court gave its marching orders on Friday, that is no longer necessary. The involvement of the finance minister was purely to obtain information on options that would ensure uninterrupted grant payment.”

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