Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has refused to be drawn into allegations made by former minister Bathabile Dlamini that he colluded with banks.
In her resignation letter to African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule, Dlamini claimed that Gordhan had worked with banks in an attempt to lobby for grants.
In a 10-page letter, signed May 10, Dlamini said some of her former colleagues in the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) inter-ministerial committee had committed treason when they suggested that the Post Office take over the payment of grants, when it was not ready. The committee comprised of Gordhan, Mildred Oliphant, Dipuo Peters and Aaron Motsoaledi.
"What they did was actually treason. They knew that the Post Office was not going to succeed and people will automatically go to banks. Actually the first time I communicated with Gordhan he suggested we should call everyone to go and register with banks," she added. She said Gordhan's suggestion made her realise that he was working with banks.
Dlamini said, when Sassa met with banks, it was clear that they wanted payment, "When they were not ready with biometrics."
Gordhan's spokesperson Adrian Lackay refused to respond, only saying: "Gordhan wanted to wish Dlamini a peaceful retirement."
Dlamini, who was found by the Constitutional Court to have acted recklessly and to be have been grossly negligent by failing to disclose information before an inquiry into her role in the social grants debacle, said the courts had never found her to be corrupt.
"The Constitutional Court made the court order on the basis that they viewed work streams as parallel processes which reported to me directly," she added.
Dlamini wrote that, while the court had never judged her to be corrupt, she had been criticised to make it look so.
Dlamini was accused of failing to ensure that Sassa was equipped to administer social grants after a contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) was due to expire. The court was forced to extend the contract‚ even though it had been found to be illegal.
"What is important to me is that I never arrived with CPS to the department. I found them there already doing the work with the department but when people speak one hears nuisance that says I had something to do with CPS. Those that made profit through CPS by their wives are known but because they are respected by the organisation nothing is being said to them."
Listing some of her achievements during her time as social development minister, she said the department had registered grant recipients, procurators and the system were cleaned up, beneficiaries were also registered through the biometric system, and that the department had saved R2-billion on the fiscus.
"I am convinced that our country is far from developing or improving because there are those among us that have the support of the media; that they mastered the art of demonising some of us and unfortunately they are seen as very committed, clean and innocent when they have shares in some of these institutions."