Batha­bile’s daugh­ter, new Sassa boss deal­ings

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

PAR­LIA­MENT’S stand­ing com­mit­tee on pub­lic ac­counts (Scopa) wants So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Batha­bile Dlamini to come clean on the al­leged busi­ness ties be­tween newly ap­pointed act­ing SA So­cial Se­cu­rity Agency (Sassa) chief ex­ec­u­tive Pearl Bhengu and the min­is­ter’s daugh­ter, Skhum­buzo Maz­ibuko.

Scopa chair­per­son Themba Godi raised con­cerns over news re­ports on Bhengu be­ing linked to Dlamini’s daugh­ter Maz­ibuko, say­ing they want the min­is­ter to set the record straight when Scopa meets with Sassa next month.

Godi pointed out that they would not want a min­is­ter to be en­tan­gled in busi­ness deals with top of­fi­cials. But the Depart­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment has said the al­leged busi­ness part­ner­ship be­tween Bhengu and Dlamini’s daugh­ter never got off the ground.

Godi has in­sisted they still wanted an­swers from the min­is­ter. “I may not be cer­tain which reg­u­la­tions are be­ing vi­o­lated. It does raise eth­i­cal ques­tions and can­not be jus­ti­fied,” he said.

“There is no way any­body can jus­tify that… It is some­thing to be avoided if you want to do the right thing. It should be ob­vi­ous to any­body that it is wrong,” he said.

Godi added that peo­ple had to have a level of con­science in lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

Bhengu was ap­pointed last week, tak­ing over from for­mer Sassa chief ex­ec­u­tive Thokozani Mag­waza, who re­vealed that his fam­ily had been fac­ing death threats.

When news that he was be­ing re­placed emerged, Mag­waza pointed out that he had not re­signed from the agency but that his con­tract had in fact been ter­mi­nated.

This was de­spite the So­cial De­vel­op­ment Depart­ment say­ing it had reached a mu­tual agree­ment with Mag­waza to ter­mi­nate his con­tract.

Bhengu was merely a se­nior man­ager in KwaZu­luNatal be­fore she was sent to head the agency at na­tional level.

Godi said now that the mat­ter was in the pub­lic do­main, it re­quired the in­ter­ven­tion of Par­lia­ment.

Sassa has been in the pub­lic eye af­ter the Cash Pay­mas­ter Sys­tems con­tract came to an end with no al­ter­na­tive plan in place, threat­en­ing the so­cial grants of mil­lions of ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

Black Sash took Dlamini to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court over the cri­sis. Other or­gan­i­sa­tions also joined the ap­pli­ca­tion and the court ex­tended the CPS con­tract for a year un­til a new com­pany is found to dis­trib­ute so­cial grants.

Mag­waza had filed his own ap­pli­ca­tion in the Con­sti­tu­tional Court in which he dis­puted the ver­sion of Dlamini on the so­cial grants cri­sis. He was also due to deal with an­other mat­ter in court on why Dlamini should pay costs from her own pocket.

MPS WANT AN­SWERS: Batha­bile Dlamini

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