By Siboniso Mawandla
South African Social Services Agency (Sassa) CEO, Thokozani Magwaza, have received death threats as the Sassa saga continues. Magwaza has been on numerous occasions on records that they have not done nothing wrong on their part, as an agency but Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and the Department of Social Development are to be blamed for poor managing of grant payment.
Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), have come out strongly to condemn death threats against Magwaza as Sassa prepares to hand over the grant payment to South Afrrican Post Office (Sapo). In a statement issued by Scopa chairperson, Themba Godi, it said that Godi “had a long discussion with Magwaza, about the alleged death threats against him and the work of finalising the contract between Sassa and Sapo to replace the disgraced Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) in the payment of social grants.”
“As Scopa, we are shocked and angry at what is evidently brazen lawlessness by a criminal gang of rent seekers who want to intimidate Mr Magwaza out of his job so they can frustrate the Sassa-Sapo contract and instead open the door for the looting of public funds,” said the statement.
Godi expressed concerns about the continued threats against the CEO because “the fate of 17 million vulnerable and poor South Africans is at stake. This is an attack and sabotage of national interest for the benefit of an immoral and parasitic clique.
As Scopa we fully support Mr Magwaza and he must stay put and be steadfast in his post to serve the national interest. It is shocking that the Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, has not said a word or stood in solidarity with Mr Magwaza, thus making him feel he is on his own,” the statement reads.
Godi calls on Dlamini to put government work first as the future of 17 million grant recipients depends on it.
“Minister Bathabile Dlamini must put government interests above personal consideration. Mr Magwaza was right in terminating the Minister’s illegally appointed “work streams”, which worked parallel to the legal management of Sassa.
The appointment of these work streams was declared irregular by the National Treasury and there was therefore no other way than to immediately terminate them, as required by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
Government must demonstrate seriousness about good governance and the fight against corruption. We cannot have managers forced out or suspended in order to facilitate corruption. Government commitment to fight corruption must go beyond mere words.
Godi suspect that threats on Magwaza’s life are part of a campaign to have him removed.
“There is an orchestrated campaign to remove Mr Magwaza just as we have seen the suspension of two Director-Generals in the Departments of Water Affairs and Sanitation (Mr Dan Mashitisho) and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Mr Mike Mlengana) all in circumstances that point to conflicts of interest with their political principals,” concluded the statement.