Bathabile Dlamini axes her adviser

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has fired one of her special advisers, Sipho Shezi.

Shezi confirmed yesterday that he was informed in a letter, delivered on Friday, that his services were no longer needed.

Shezi said no reasons were given for dismissing him, adding he was fine with that.

“I would not really insist on her giving reasons . In terms of the contract, at any given time the parties can decide to terminate the contract without notice,” he said. “So I have respected that process.”

Shezi was named in the department’s former director-general Zane Dangor’s affidavit in the Constitutional Court regarding the social grants debacle.

He appeared to be one of the senior officials who, with Dangor and others, were trying to find solutions to ensure the Social Security Agency of SA (Sassa) could take over the payment of grants.

Today is the deadline for all parties wishing to make written submissions to the Constitutional Court on whether Dlamini should be held personally liable for the costs of the Black Sash Trust and Freedom Under Law’s application.

Dangor has claimed the Sassa crisis was “self-created” to facilitate a continuous relationship with Cash Paymaster Services.

In an affidavit filed in the Constitutional Court on Monday, Dangor also laid bare the hurtful allegations of racism and sexism that led to his resignation last month.

Dangor confirmed Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza’s claim that Dlamini had created a parallel structure to Sassa that reported directly to her, to look into the continued payments of social grants. In annexures also submitted to the court, Dangor included his resignation letter, stating he was forced to resign after Dlamini had read him the riot act in front of other staff members.

“The manner in which you (Dlamini) addressed me in front of staff members of Sassa and the DSD, albeit telephonically, diminished me as a person and also, undermined my continued abilities to provide leadership and guidance in the department and Sassa.

“This was followed up by two SMS messages that essentially claimed that I had been party to shaping the national Treasury’s ideas on the payment of social grants going forward, that I was macho and racist in that I was undermining the work and advancement of African women in particular.

“The allegations of being racist and sexist are without any basis whatsoever and are allegations that I find deeply insulting and injurious to my person.”

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