12 June 2019
The Black Sash welcomes the resignation of former Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini from Parliament.
In the letter, Dlamini states: “Those that made profit through CPS through their wives are known, but because they are well respected by the organization. Nothing has been said to them. I have been made a scapegoat and an easy target.” Is Dlamini saying that protected individuals within the ruling party were benefitting from the CPS contract? Who are these individuals, how did they benefit and how much did they receive? These issues are worth tabling at the Zondo Commission as well as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) investigation.
A failure of Ms Dlamini’s tenure as Minister of Social Development is addressing the serious challenges of governance and leadership at SASSA. The Black Sash is of the view that Ms Dlamini was given a fair opportunity to present evidence at the Section 38 Inquiry led by Judge Ngoepe into the work streams amongst others. It is difficult at this late stage to set the public record straight, so we encourage the former Minister to approach Court with relevant evidence.
While Ms Dlamini addresses the CPS contract, two issues remain. When will CPS, Net1 and Grindrod Bank hand over the confidential data they collected since the start of their 2012 SASSA contract? When will SASSA audit the financial statements of CPS as per the Constitutional Court order?
Ms Dlamini acknowledged that CPS contract fueled indebtedness among grant beneficiaries via loans and financial service through the Moneyline and Grindrod Bank’s Easy Pay Everywhere account. She is however silent on how the CPS contract enabled Net1 subsidiaries and alleys to make unlawful deductions for airtime, electricity, loans and funeral policies from the SASSA Grindrod Bank Account.
Social Security including social assistance is a Constitutional right. Grant beneficiaries are entitled to the full cash value of their grant. The grant payment service must be accessible within 5 km radius to where beneficiaries reside. While we had made the transition to the new state-led hybrid grant payment model various challenges emerged. The needs of grant beneficiaries in rural and peri-urban areas were not taken into account when SASSA decided to reduce the number of pay points from 10,000 to 1,740. Grant beneficiaries are now paying additional cost for transport as well as bank charges diminishing the already meagre grant. Many grant beneficiaries particularly the elderly and disabled fear for their safety and the indignity of long queues without ablutions.