Cadre deployment remains rife at SASSA

Issued by Bridget Masango MP – DA Shadow Minister of Social Development
10 Mar 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Bridget Masango MP.

Following a recent Cabinet meeting, we learned that the contract of Busisiwe Memela-Khambule as Chief Executive of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has been extended. This is despite Memela-Khambule being implicated in a damning Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report in 2021, involving corruption in a R45 million tender to distribute 33 000 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) food parcels in the Eastern Cape during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Memela-Khambule, who earns a R3 million salary, is accused of violating the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) by manipulating the tender for preferred bidders. She is accused of explicitly going against National Treasury procurement processes to ensure that overpriced and unqualified service providers were contracted, which saw SASSA pay more than necessary to purchase and distribute parcels, with less parcels distributed to beneficiaries. Shockingly, the SIU found that “SASSA had no approved process of administering food parcels to beneficiaries and [distribution] depended on lists submitted by ward councillors”. In addition to the tender itself being corrupt, the involvement of ward councillors saw nonqualifying beneficiaries receive parcels, while some qualified beneficiaries received parcels late or received incomplete or substandard parcels.

Importantly, the SIU recommended disciplinary action against Memela-Khambule as a central mastermind, in addition to instituting court proceedings to invalidate the contract. However, despite these damning findings, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government proceeded to renew her contract. While President Ramaphosa touts his government’s efforts against corruption, in the end, it’s nothing but a smokescreen. The President will allow the corrupt to run SASSA, as long as their title begins with “Cde”. The ANC continues to stand by cadre deployment, even following the DA’s recent exposé. As outlined in the Zondo Commission, cadre deployment is a key ingredient to corruption. The ANC always thinks of itself foremost and never innocent South Africans.

President Ramaphosa and his officials are also willing to lie by falsely accusing the DA of being against social grants, when in actuality, it is the ANC’s fraud and corruption that threatens social grants. The incidents of fraud and corruption at SASSA in the past few years are nothing short of disturbing.

SASSA has lost more than R50 million to fraud and corruption in the past two and a half years. This involves more than 700 cases and 40 SASSA officials.

  • A “system glitch” in September 2023 left more than 600 000 beneficiaries stranded without payments.
  • In January this year, another 150 000 beneficiaries did not receive their payments due to another “glitch”, as SASSA could not “verify” their banking details.
  • SASSA has paid more than R141 million to 75 000 deceased recipients in the past three years.
  • 5 812 SRD grants and 33 883 other social grants were paid to fraudster civil servants during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
  • Countless SRD recipients have been defrauded of their ID numbers and personal information, which SASSA cannot resolve, despite countless complaints.

In stark contrast to the ANC government, the DA has a plan to protect social grants.

Our pro-poor policies, contained in our Social Development policy, our recently launched 2024 Manifesto, and Alternative Budget, promises to:

  • Institute an audit into social grant beneficiary databases to ensure that all beneficiaries are qualified.
  • Increase the child support grant to the food poverty line – from R510 currently to R760 each month.
  • Extend the child grant to expectant mothers to ensure the nutrition of unborn babies.
  • Extend the child support grant to beneficiaries until they obtain a National Senior Certificate.
  • Simplify and streamline social grant applications for disabled recipients.
  • Expand the zero-rated basket of food items to reduce food insecurity and poverty.

The choice South Africans have to make on 29 May 2024 is clear: an uncaring, corrupt ANC-government or a competent, caring DA that is ready to govern. We must all make the right choice to protect our social security system and vulnerable South Africans in dire need of assistance.