Min­is­ter of disas­ter

CityPress - - Voices -

In March this year – at the height of the grants cri­sis – so­cial de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Zane Dan­gor resigned, un­able to tol­er­ate working with his in­com­pe­tent and un­car­ing min­is­ter, Batha­bile Dlamini.

The fol­low­ing month, the in­creas­ingly ba­nanas Dlamini forced spe­cial ad­viser Sipho Shezi out of the depart­ment. This week it was the turn of Thokozani Mag­waza, SA So­cial Se­cu­rity Agency boss, who had been at the re­ceiv­ing end of fierce hos­tily from the min­is­ter, whose fa­cial ex­pres­sion is enough to make a Rus­sian hit man scurry for cover.

In the re­cent past, Mag­waza can­celled work streams con­tracts worth R47 mil­lion, which were meant to help the agency meet a Con­sti­tu­tional Court dead­line of find­ing a re­place­ment com­pany to take over the pay­ment of grants. The work streams were set up Dlamini and di­rectly re­ported to her.

He was also due to tes­tify against the min­is­ter in a pub­lic in­quiry into whether Dlamini should be held fi­nan­cially li­able for the so­cial grants scan­dal.

Re­act­ing to Mag­waza’s de­par­ture, Themba Godi, the chair of the stand­ing com­mit­tee of pub­lic ac­counts, charged that the chief ex­ec­u­tive had been forced out.

“We do not want a sit­u­a­tion where of­fi­cials are un­der siege from crim­i­nals who force them to flout the law in or­der to get what they want ... If we have that, then we have a ba­nana repub­lic and, cer­tainly, that’s not what we fought for as a coun­try,” he was quoted as say­ing.

These were three se­nior of­fi­cials who were at the cen­tre of rec­ti­fy­ing the grants cri­sis that Dlamini had cre­ated. These of­fi­cials are now gone and a new act­ing CEO, Pearl Bhengu, has re­placed Mag­waza, with re­ports al­ready emerg­ing that Bhengu is in a busi­ness part­ner­ship with the min­is­ter’s child.

The pub­lic in­quiry is yet to be held to de­ter­mine whether the min­is­ter of disas­ter was per­son­ally cul­pa­ble in the saga.

Why are the pres­i­dency and the gov­ern­ing party’s de­ploy­ment com­mit­tee tol­er­at­ing the con­tin­ued stay of the ar­chi­tect of the so­cial grants saga when it is clear that she is hell­bent on deep­en­ing the cri­sis?

How much longer will she be tol­er­ated?

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