Sassa boss Magwaza wants to set record straight
Katharine Child | 2017-04-05 14:29:51.0
SA Social Security Agency CEO Thokozani Magwaza. File photo.
Image by: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
SA Social Security Agency CEO Thokozani Magwaza has asked the Constitutional Court to allow him to defend his name after Social Development Minister Dlamini Bathabile blamed him for the mess at the agency.
Dlamini was forced to file an affidavit with the court on Friday to explain why she shouldn’t pay costs of the legal matter that will run into millions. The court case was brought by Black Sash to ensure that there was a service provider to pay 17 million grants to 11 million people this month.
The court had suggested the minister was personally responsible for the court case and for not knowing that Sassa could not pay grants from April 1. Judge Johan Froneman said: “The office holder ultimately responsible for the crisis and the events that led to it is the person who holds executive political office.
“It is the minister who is required in terms of the Constitution to account to Parliament. That is the minister‚ and the minister alone‚” he said.
In her response‚ Dlamini said her role in the debacle was not “wilful”.
She also laid the blame with Magwaza. Now he wants the chance to clear his name.
He is not cited in the legal case and has to ask permission to join the case. Magwaza says in his letter he has sent to the Constitutional Court: “With the leave of the honourable court‚ I am ready to file an affidavit to reflect the correct version of events”.
“I think it is necessary to inform the honourable court of the inaccuracy of the contents therefore in order to dispel the perceptions that the public may harbour against me and according undertake to file an affidavit should the court grant me leave to do so.”
He didn’t include her attorneys in the letter because previous attempts to work with them and correct contradictory statements by the minister had been thwarted‚ he said. The minister’s attorneys Tim Sukazi Inc had told Magwaza “that it would be most unusual for an attorney to revise the content of an affidavit made by one person on the instruction of another person”.
Dlamini blamed Magwaza for not being ready to pay grants. He “indicated that he needed more time to address certain concerns and that he would rather report to the court in January 2017. I reluctantly acceded”.
Dlamini also said in her affidavit: “With hindsight I ought to have demanded greater accountability from Sassa officials and more frequent communications and updates from them as to the progress of the implementation of the plan”.
“I did not do so because I assumed that the existing chain and communication channels were working and that I would be informed if anything of consequence arose. This has proven with time to be an error on my part.”
– TMG Digital