Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini appears before Parliaments Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on March 07, 2017 in Cape Town.
JOHANNESBURG - Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza says the social development minister lied about the social grants crisis.
Magwaza's accusation is contained in an replying affidavit, filed at the Constitutional Court on Friday.
He was responding to Minister Bathabile Dlamini's affidavit, blaming Sassa officials for the debacle.
At the same time, former social development director general Zane Dangor is expected to file his affidavit next week.
"I genuinely want to understand. How do we get to this level of what could mistakenly or arguably be characterised as absolute incompetence? How?" asked Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
A question to the social development minister and Sassa officials on what led to the social grants debacle.
But now, the gloves are off as Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza prepare to spar before the Constitutional Court.
In justifying why legal costs shouldn't form part of her bill, Minister Dlamini is placing part of the blame firmly at Magwaza's door.
She claims to have only known in October that Sassa wouldn't be able to take over the payment of social grants.
In her affidavit, she also says Magwaza asked for more time when she told HIM to report the matter to the Constitutional Court in December 2016.
Dlamini further says the Sassa CEO failed to engage with her during this critical time. But, Magwaza is not taking these accusations lying down.
In his replying affidavit, he claims to have put all his energies towards trying to find an alternative solution.
He says in retrospect, it was the minister who was adamant that an internal solution won't be found, and was against the use of local banks and the post office.
Magwaza says he's still battling to understand why Dlamini was adamant that CPS be used.
He also says the Minister did not engage with Sassa to seek other possible solutions to ensure recipients were paid.
Earlier this week, former finance minister Pravin Fordham added his voice to the saga.
“There comes a limit to the lies. Minister Dlamini clearly dropped the ball on grants and must take responsibility - instead of blaming SASSA CEO, Treasury,” said Former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan.
The Constitutional Court has once again become the battle ground in the social grants saga.
Last month, it ruled that CPS's contract with Sassa be extended for another year, while the agency prepares to take over payments.