Zane Dangor‚ the director-general of the social development department‚ said on Saturday (04/03/17) he had resigned due to “a breakdown in the relationship between myself and the minister (Bathabile Dlamini) on the management of the processes towards ensuring grants are paid”.
Dangor’s departure‚ just four months since his appointment‚ is a shattering blow to hopes that social grants — relied upon by 17 million people — will continue being paid after the South African Social Security Agency’s contract with Cash Paymaster Services ends on March 31.
The resignation follows the sidelining of Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza‚ who is said to have been booked off with high blood pressure.
Dangor was summoned to see President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria earlier this week‚ and his resignation followed reports that officials from the department‚ the Reserve Bank‚ National Treasury and Sassa have been secretly negotiating with CPS boss Serge Belamant.
On Friday‚ Dlamini said she took responsibility for her department’s failure to comply with a Constitutional Court ruling in 2013 which said Sassa’s contract with CPS was invalid and a tender should be issued to secure a new service provider.
“The minister and Sassa accept responsibility for Sassa’s inability to deliver” on pledges it made to the court‚ the agency said in court documents.
In the papers‚ Sassa said it received advice that it no longer needed to report to the court. It also said a pledge to take over the distribution of payments itself this year had been overly ambitious and could take as long as five years.
Earlier this week‚ the Black Sash filed a case with the Constitutional Court demanding that any contract between Sassa and CPS have the court’s oversight and that Dlamini report to the court regularly.
The DA joined that case on Friday‚ saying: “In the circumstances relating to the payment of social grants‚ there has been abject failure by senior government officials and senior members of the executive‚ including at least one cabinet member‚ to satisfy the basic constitutional and legal principles.”
It added that Dlamini “failed to show any leadership at all‚ let alone concern regarding Sassa’s true state of affairs”.