The department of social development has dismissed a claim by United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa that Minister Bathabile Dlamini travelled by a chartered aircraft paid for by Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to attend a funeral in the Eastern Cape last year as “malicious”.
Holomisa claimed during a debate in the National Assembly last month that Dlamini was in a private helicopter accompanied by beneficiaries of the Sassa contract to attend the funeral of ANC veteran Dumisani Mafu on July 22, 2016.
Dlamini’s spokesperson Lumka Oliphant says the allegations by the UDM leader are an attempt by the opposition to tarnish her reputation. She said the minister never even attended Mafu’s funeral.
Oliphant has referred to the aircraft as a “plane”, however, which could suggest confusion as to what Holomisa actually said.
Gen Holomisa says Minister Dlamini flew to a funeral in Willowvale in a private helicopter accompanied by beneficiaries of CPS contract. ????????
— Scapegoat (@AndiMakinana) March 14, 2017
CPS is the current service provider for the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa). Its contract was declared illegal by the Constitutional Court in 2014 after it was found to have been irregularly awarded to the company.
On March 17, the ConCourt was forced to extend the invalid contract between Sassa and CPS after social development failed to establish an in-house payment system to disburse social grants to about 11 million grant recipients.
The department’s former director general Zane Dangor and Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza have accused Dlamini in court papers before the ConCourt of deliberately creating the social grants crisis in order to retain CPS as a service provider, but she denies this.