The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has snubbed two Parliamentary committees today, saying it has no substantial progress to report in the takeover of grant payments. It’s now been almost two months since Sassa was expected to sign an agreement with the Post Office to provide the service. Parliament’s Social Development committee will now take legal advice on whether to summons Minister Bathabile Dlamini to explain the lack of co-operation. Sassa’s no-show at this morning’s Social Development Committee outraged MPs. It comes at a time when an independent panel of experts has delivered a scathing report to the Constitutional Court, saying the agency won’t meet next year’s court deadline for the takeover of grant payments. (EWN)
Bridget Masango, DA
Shadow Minister of Social Development
The no-show by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) at the meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development today simply beggars belief.
SASSA was meant to give update on the implementation of the Constitutional Court order, which required SASSA to provide regular updates, at least once a month, about its plan to replace the invalid CPS contract to distribute social grants to millions of vulnerable South Africans.
SASSA apparently has nothing to report back, despite the last report to the committee being a full six weeks ago.
The DA, therefore, welcomes that the Chairperson of the Committee, Rose Capa, has agreed to issue a formal summons to ensure that SASSA show-up and fully account for what they have been doing for the last six weeks.
Should the summons be ignored, they will be “liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to both the fine and the imprisonment” in accordance with the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act
Even if they claim they have nothing to report, they must fully account for why it is they have not made any progress in almost two months.
Millions of poor and vulnerable South Africans look to SASSA to ensure that there is a workable plan for the distribution of social grants come the end of the year. It is a slap in the face to these recipients who depend on social grants to survive month to month that SASSA failed to show up.
SASSA must be summoned to account urgently and should not be allowed to shirk their responsibility.