The agency responsible for paying social grants to 17-million people has been hit with another qualified audit opinion for irregular spending of nearly R2bn. The government allocates a large part of social spending to social grants, with more than R150bn set aside annually. But the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has in recent times struggled to carry out its functions, due mainly to poor leadership and instability under former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini, who is now the minister in the presidency for women. Last week, the Constitutional Court ordered Dlamini to pay out of her own pocket 20% of the legal costs of the Black Sash Trust and Freedom Under Law in relation to the 2017 Sassa debacle. Sassa also received a qualified audit in the previous financial year, meaning the auditor-general had doubts about the veracity of certain financial data at the entity. In the 2017/2018 annual report tabled in parliament on Tuesday, auditor-general Kimi Makwetu s...

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