New Sassa boss tops Dlamini’s to-do list
MINISTER of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini has made it clear that the process of appointing a new SA Social Security Agency chief executive is among her priorities.
This follows her decision to appoint Pearl Bhengu as interim Sassa head after she and former chief executive Thokozani Magwaza mutually agreed to terminate his contract, according to Department of Social Development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant.
Oliphant said Bhengu, who had been serving as Sassa regional manager in KwaZulu-Natal since 2012, would begin her interim duties with immediate effect.
“The minister stated that the first priority of the acting chief executive is to stabilise the agency and to ensure it focuses on its constitutional mandate of administering and paying social grants in line with the Sassa Act,” said Oliphant in a statement.
“The minister made it clear that the process of appointing a new chief executive is very high on her list of things to do,” said Oliphant.
DA spokesperson on social development Bridget Masango expressed her concern over the appointment of someone outside the Sassa executive and the department.
Masango said: “My concern is that we are in a critical time in the implementation of the Constitutional Court orders on the grant payment systems.
“One would have thought that she (the minister) would have appointed – and this is entirely her prerogative to appoint whomever she wants – someone who is within the Sassa environment, a senior executive,” she added.
Masango told The Star that she was aware that the minister had the right to appoint whoever she wished, but she was concerned about who the interim chief executive was, especially at such a critical time.
In terms of who should have been given the position, Masango said a suitable candidate for the position would have been someone like Raphahle Ramokgopa.
“She has been intimately involved in this transitional period even before the March 2017 Constitutional Court orders.
“She has been running with this project,” said Masango.
According to media reports earlier this week, Dlamini and Magwaza had agreed to terminate his contract because of their differing views on using the SA Post Office Bank to distribute the social grants and to work out a plan to phase out Cash Paymaster Services as the distributor of grants.
Magwaza joined a long list of directors-general and senior officials in government who have had their contracts terminated in recent months.
DIFFERING VIEWS: Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini withThokozani Magwaza, whose services as Sassa chief executive have been terminated.