Minister of disaster
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?