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If the air of calamity that currently surrounded the contract to distribute social grants to SA’s 17-million or so recipients has any redeeming quality, it’s that we are beginning to understand in slightly more detail what is actually happening. It should be said that this is not because of, but despite, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, who held one of the most absurd news conferences ever over the weekend. And in SA, that is saying something. She read a nine-page statement saying grants would be paid but no deal had been struck then with operator, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). Huh? This contradicted a statement the department made three days earlier saying, triumphantly, that there was a contract, achieved after three days of negotiations. Dlamini answered questions on this apparent contradiction by staring fixedly ahead. Her director-general, Zane Dangor, shockingly resigned on Friday in the middle of this crisis. Questions on that were met with claims that comment ...

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