‘Up your game’ – MPs tell Sassa

Unhappy MPs have ordered the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) to “up its game” and accused its top managers of incompetence for its shambolic handling of the social grant payment system.

Sassa’s management and social development minister Bathabile Dlamini appeared before the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Thursday to update MPs on their progress regarding the implementation of a Constitutional Court order made in March.

Bathabile Dlamini

Sassa told MPs that current service provider‚ Cash Pay Master Services (CPS)‚ would be replaced within the next twelve months.

But SCOPA chairman Themba Godi was not impressed‚ saying he was not happy that Sassa was still addressing the matter in “tentative terms.”

“My only problem is that you’re speaking in tentative terms. There is something that does not sit well‚” said Godi.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa said “kukhona okushaya amanzi” (there is something sinister).

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa said “kukhona okushaya amanzi” (there is something sinister).

“I must be honest‚ the CPS deal contract remains in place for no other reason either than the fact that failing to plan is planning to fail. I will only be convinced by a tangible timeline which says ‘we are here’. Sassa really needs to play ball. This is work that should have been done long ago‚” said Hlengwa.

DA MP Tim Brauteseth bemoaned the fact that Sassa didn’t provide any detail in its presentation.

“When you engage with us in future we want a level of detail. We need to see consequences. Up your game. It is this level of incompetence that has led us to where we are. So please‚ to all of you‚ let’s try and up the game. Our aim is to fix departments and get them on their way. Please lift your game‚” said Brauteseth.

The ANC’s Nyami Booi said the committee would be a thorn in the side of Sassa until it improved.

Booi said the entity could even be called to parliament every week‚ if need be.

“We are not going to go away here. Parliament is going to hold you accountable. You will be here every week. Our responsibility is very simple and it’s to get this thing done. You have to deliver‚” said Booi.

Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza said they last came to parliament “at a time when there were so many things that were happening”. “We did say we were going to pay on April 1. It is common cause that April 1 came and we did pay. There was no crisis. We did not have much problem paying on April 1‚” said Magwaza.


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