SASSA BOSS SPEAKS
That meeting, which took place at OR Tambo International Airport – after Magwaza had flown in from Cape Town – was also attended by top social development officials and Sassa management, as well as staff who had worked on the October report.
With Dlamini’s special adviser, Sipho Shezi, chairing the meeting, the affidavit that had been drawn up in the previous night’s meeting with Dlamini was changed.
“I kept quiet during the meeting because I was perturbed with what was taking place,” Magwaza said.
He then urged that the document which had been agreed upon be filed immediately in court “because time is running out for us”.
After the meeting he went to the airport police station and signed the affidavit.
Later that night, he received a note from Sassa’s legal services, “saying that we have been instructed not to file the document” and that the instruction had come from Dlamini.
“So, the papers were not filed. I was not happy, but I kept quiet because the minister had taken over,” said Magwaza.
ONCE MORE, HOLD YOUR HORSES
With the March 31 deadline looming, marking the end of the contract with CPS, Magwaza said he signed an affidavit to file documents with the court at Linden Police Station in Johannesburg on February 27. The following day, the documents were filed before court. However, later that day Dlamini instructed that they be withdrawn.
Magwaza said Sassa legal services manager Busisiwe Mahlobogoana was first to receive an email from Sukazi, ordering her to withdraw the affidavit on the instructions of Dlamini.
Mahlobogoana replied she could only take such instructions from her Sassa CEO.
This interaction was followed by an email with an attachment from Zodwa Mvulane, the payment transition project manager. The email stated that Sukazi had been appointed as the attorney in charge and Mahlobogoana should do as he instructed.
She complied after being instructed do so by the then acting CEO, Mzobe.
Magwaza said he later heard that the court refused to withdraw the affidavit, insisting that sound reason must be given for this to happen.
However, Sukazi denied that Dlamini played any role in delaying submitting papers to the court. “It seems the delay was caused more by a difference of opinion as to the legal approach. Such differences led to the filing of the now aborted application at court.”
NO TO ILLEGAL DECISIONS
Magwaza said that after discussions with Treasury and the SA Reserve Bank, it had been agreed that Sassa should approach the court to validate any action to be taken.
CPS would be a viable solution, but only for a short period. An alternative option, albeit later, would involve banks and the SA Post Office.
Magwaza had previously written to the Post Office requesting a meeting to avert the looming crisis, but was told he had upset Dlamini. “I asked why, given that the Post Office is a state-owned entity,” he said.
Magwaza said he believed 12 months was more than enough time to fix the problem, hence his advocating for a short-term contract with CPS.
“I am the CEO and I have done these things before ... For people to come from outside to tell me that it cannot be done, that is out.
“All the threats of suspension are because they say I am not toeing the line.
“I tried [to file court papers] on February 6, but I could not, then I tried on the 14th and I was stopped. I tried on the 15th and I was stopped again. Then I was forced to file this thing on the 27th. Now I have been accused of doing so without permission.”
Magwaza added that he did not think he would be suspended on his return to work – which happens tomorrow – as “that would be suicide on their part”.
He said staff had defied instructions not to talk to him while he was on leave, but had called him for advice. He had told them that in following instructions, “I implore you not to take illegal decisions”.
Magwaza questioned the delay in moving him to his new position at Sassa. “I was appointed in June, but I only took office in November. This is another question that needs to be interrogated.
“Why I was not allowed to come in between June and November?” he asked.