Dlamini, Hanekom join MP exodus
Former ministers of social development, tourism latest to resign from parliament after exclusion from new cabinet
The former ministers of tourism and social development, Derek Hanekom and Bathabile Dlamini, are the latest in a host of ANC MPs who have resigned since the start of the sixth administration.
They join the likes of Nomaindia Mfeketo, Jeff Radebe, Siyabonga Cwele, Susan Shabangu, Tokozile Xasa and Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, who all resigned in recent weeks.
In resigning as a member of parliament on Tuesday, ANC Women’s League president Dlamini claimed she had been made a scapegoat and an easy target.
In a 10-page letter signed by Dlamini and sent to ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, she spoke her mind on the state of the ANC and her role in the grants debacle of 2017.
“I hold no grudge for being reshuffled and not being appointed,” Dlamini said, adding that there was “a lot of noise” aimed at discrediting her.
She said in the Constitutional Court judgment against her in the Sassa case, “not once was I proven to be corrupt”.
Dlamini insisted that ANC leaders must “have two ears” and treat all members accused of wrongdoing equally.
“Given the influence of the media nowadays and how it has been used to destroy some of us, the African National Congress has the responsibility of giving all of us a hearing, more particularly those that serve in the executive,” she said.
Her resignation from parliament follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s failure to include her in his cabinet.
Had she remained as an ordinary member of the National Assembly, she would have lost her right to a significant pension as a former minister.
In the letter, Dlamini also hit out at some leaders of the party, saying some of them had “made themselves look clean when that has not been proven”.
She said there were people who thought they owned the president and the secretarygeneral, but did not elaborate on who they were.
“The very same people that complained about this during the past leadership are repeating this and I am not sure whether they think this is good when it is done by them.
“It is also worrisome that these are members in the NEC that have fought all presidents, from president Nelson Mandela, president Thabo Mbeki and president Jacob Zuma.
“I am waiting to see what they are planning for the present leadership.”
The Constitutional Court was forced to extend a contract between Sassa, which Dlamini was in charge of as minister of social development, and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), even though the contract was found to have been illegal.
She was accused of having failed to ensure that Sassa was equipped to administer social grants after the contract with CPS was due to expire.
The court then ordered an inquiry to determine the culpability around the social grants crisis and, in a subsequent judgment, described Dlamini’s conduct as “reckless and grossly negligent”‚ saying she had failed to disclose information at an inquiry into her role in the social grants debacle.
Dlamini, in her letter, said she found CPS at the department when she was first appointed and accused unnamed ANC leaders of profiting from CPS through their wives.
She said those people were known, but because they were well respected by the party nothing had been said to them.
“I have been made a scapegoat, an easy target,” she said.
Dlamini took a jab at former minister Jeff Radebe, saying “what happened when minister Jeff Radebe took over [the managing of the grants crisis] is a story for another day”.
Dlamini also accused minister Pravin Gordhan of “working with the banks”.
“Actually, the first time I communicated with minister Pravin Gordhan, he suggested we should call everyone to go and register with banks and it became clear to me he worked with the banks,” she wrote.
Dlamini said the grants payment crisis was “engineered somewhere” because she had wanted the distribution of grants taken to a local level.
Meanwhile, former longserving cabinet minister Hanekom, despite being an ally of Ramaphosa, was also not appointed to the new cabinet.
Hanekom served under former presidents Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Zuma.
He has also held the positions of minister, and deputy minister, of science and technology, and minister of agriculture and land affairs.
He was an open critic of Zuma, which cost him his job in the March 2017 reshuffle.
He was also one of the ANC leaders who called, as far back as 2016, for Zuma to resign.
After his sacking from the executive in 2017, Hanekom was returned to the cabinet by Ramaphosa in February 2018.
On Monday night, in response to a tweet, Hanekom wrote: “I am ready to start my next chapter quite soon.
“But tourism will remain a passion and I’ll support it wherever I find myself.” –