Lumka Oliphant Refuses to Speak English & Dlamini Rows with Journo

Staff at South Africa’s Social Security Agency (SASSA) continue to behave in a manner many are calling “arrogant” as they attempt to deflect attention from the Social Grants scandal… and blame it on the media.

This morning SASSA spokesperon Lumka Oliphant refused to speak English during a radio interview with Xolani Gwala on 702… even though the station is English, and she has conducted previous interviews in English. Gwala eventually cuts her off for “disrespecting the medium”. Listen below.

Last month Oliphant made the news after defending her boss, Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini, who had reportedly been drunk at an event.

On Sunday Dlamini caused her own Twitter Storm when she responded in an aggressive way to questions from eNca journalist Karyn Maughan, during a media conference. (Watch below.)

Dlamini refused to comment on the resignation of director-general Zane Dangor who resigned at the weekend after citing the breakdown in his relationship with the minister.

The current contract between Sassa and CPS (Cash Paymaster Services), which currently pays social grants to almost seven million beneficiaries, is set to expire at the end of March. 

The Constitutional Court had ruled in 2014 that the contract was invalid and ordered a re-run of the tender process. But CPS was allowed to continue to fulfil its contractual obligations so that social grants payments would not be disrupted.

Until recently Sassa had allegedly made no attempt to replace or renew the contract from 1 April… leaving millions of poor people around the country in a potentially destitute position.

On Saturday, President Jacob Zuma met with Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan and Minister Dlamini to receive a progress report on the process and readiness to pay social grant beneficiaries.

“The President is of the view that the matters are solvable. He has directed the two Ministers to mandate their technical teams to work on the outstanding issues in order to ensure that social grant beneficiaries receive their grants on the 1st of April,” the presidency said.

Dlamini has assured South Africans the social grants will be paid on 1 April.

Until Sunday Sassa had been negotiating with CPS as well as engaging stakeholders such as the Treasury, Reserve bank, Post Office and Home Affairs Department to look at different options.