File image: Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini at the first Sassa Anti-corruption Conference on November 4, 2013 in Centurion.
JOHANNESBURG - The former CEO of the South African Social Services Agency (Sassa) pulled no punches when he took to the stand on Friday.
Thokozani Magwaza was testifying at the inquiry into Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s role in the social grants debacle.
He expressed concern about a controversial work stream leader and further provided details of some his stormy interactions with the minister.
The former Sassa CEO claims Dlamini ran the grants agency as if it were her own shop and she even told him to back off.
The contested work streams were to do with government’s takeover of social grants.
Magwaza says he advised against proceeding with the takeover until Treasury approved it.
The message, on his version, came too late.
“They said no. The deviation had not been signed, the deviation had not been sent. How can it be that a few months down the line, people are working. How can this happen when you do not have National Treasury’s approval,” asked Magwaza.
He says Treasury also flagged the appointment of one of the work stream leaders.
“There was a letter that the Minister of Finance had written to the Minister of Correctional Services and I asked them to investigate. I said to them: please investigate because one of the members of the work streams was mentioned in that letter.”
According to Treasury, the work streams cost around R47 million over a few months.
The Black Sash’s lawyer told the hearing they were wasteful and ineffectual.
The inquiry is adjourned until next Friday.