South Africa 17.8.2017 03:51 pm

Journos walk out of Sassa briefing after waiting 2 hours for Bathabile Dlamini

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini appears before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on March 07, 2017 in Cape Town. Picture: Gallo Images

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini appears before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on March 07, 2017 in Cape Town. Picture: Gallo Images

The minister is said to have not been informed about the walk-out and arrived at the briefing asking where all the journalists had gone to.

Journalists on Thursday staged a walk-out after Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini arrived two hours late for a press briefing in Polokwane, Limpopo.

The briefing was supposed to be about the department’s operational plans, particularly the social grants payment system.

Journalists were also hoping to quiz Dlamini on the abrupt resignation of former SA Social Security (Sassa) CEO Thokozani Magwaza and an upcoming a public inquiry into her role during the social grant payment debacle earlier this year in March.

“Many journalists had actually travelled from Johannesburg all the way to the ranch resort just outside Polokwane and they waited for her. There was no explanation for why she was late for this particular briefing.

“As a group, we decided to actually leave after waiting for two hours,” EWN reporter Gia Nicolaides told Talk Radio 702.

Dlamini is said to have not been informed about the walk out and arrived at the briefing asking where all the journalists had gone to.

Magwaza agreed to resign from the social grants agency on July 17. This, after reports that he was being pressured to accept an exit package and his life was under threat for cancelling controversial workstream contracts worth R47 million – set up by Dlamini – during the social grants payment crisis which were found to be irregular by National Treasury.

Dlamini is due to testify into the public inquiry to determine whether she should personally pay the legal costs for the grant payment crisis from her own pocket. The inquiry will be chaired by Judge Bernard Ngoepe, but its date hasn’t been announced as yet.

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