No beef with Gordhan but I’m not obliged to take Treasury’s advice on grants, says Dlamini
The social development minister’s spokeswoman says there is no ‘Gordhan’ option or ‘Dlamini’ option on fixing the Sassa payments shambles
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has insisted she is not obliged to accept Treasury’s recommendation on the payment of social grants as this was just one of several options on the table.
In a statement Friday Dlamini’s spokeswoman, Lumka Oliphant, denied there was any "enmity" between the minister and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
"Such allegations are malicious and are intended to wedge a division between herself and the minister," the statement said.
Dlamini had not rejected the Treasury recommendation that the Social Security Agency of SA (Sassa) effect the payment of social grants after March 31 by using bank accounts.
The existing contract with Cash Paymaster Services expires on March 31 and Sassa has to make alternative arrangements.
"All correspondence between the two executives [was] part of the process of seeking solutions and therefore expressing views on the pros and cons to options presented to both principals by a joint committee that was established inclusive of National Treasury, South African Reserve Bank and the Department of Social Development.
"Therefore, the options are an outcome of a collective process and options are no longer viewed as individual options. There is therefore no Dlamini option or Gordhan option," the statement said.
"The task team acknowledged that all options have pros and cons. It is the responsibility of Dlamini to decide which option will ensure that social grant beneficiaries receive their social grant on April 1 2017 without interruptions.
"The minister of social development would not under any circumstances wish to see a weakened minister of finance and a weakened Treasury. We know this feeling is mutual; and this was demonstrated by the collaboration of the two departments, Sassa and the Reserve Bank’s most senior officials on strategies to ensure that we are able pay grants on April 1 2017 and beyond."
Dlamini insisted no formal negotiations had started with Cash Paymaster Services.