The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) wants to recoup the R2-million spent on security for former minister Bathabile Dlamini’s children, a parliamentary reply has revealed.
Dlamini revealed during a parliamentary committee meeting in May 2017 that she had requested the use of agency funds to hire protection for her family following various “threats” to their safety in 2014/15.
In a reply to DA MP Bridget Masango on Thursday, the office of new social development minister Susan Shabangu revealed the amount spent during the period, and that processes were underway to recoup the money.
“Sassa paid security services for the former minister’s children in the year 2014/15. Amount spent was R 2 008 086,” the reply read.
“Sassa stopped payments after expiry of the contract i.e. February 2015.
“Currently, Sassa wrote to the former chief executive officer to make representations why the said amount should not be recovered from her. This forms part of preliminary steps to recover the amount concern[ed].”
Sassa’s chief executive at the time of the security threats was Virginia Petersen.
Dlamini faced tough questions from the standing committee on public accounts back in May last year, when the issue of the private security was raised by MPs.
She told them her children were receiving threats, and she had sought private security for them,City Press reported.
There was an agreement in place that her department would cover the costs while the government request was being processed, and until the police would be ready to take over.
She also revealed that there was a recommendation that Lumka Oliphant – her then spokesperson – be provided with necessary security measures by the department as well following similar threats, which was contained in a police report to the director-general of social development at the time.
Dlamini is also currently the subject of a court-mandated inquiry into whether she was personally liable for the financial costs incurred during the Sassa-CPS court debacle last year.
Sassa meanwhile has just appointed its fourth CEO in two years.
Chief information officer Abraham Mahlangu has taken over the acting chief executive reins from Pearl Bhengu. He made his first appearance in Parliament on Wednesday.
Bhengu indicated last week that she would like to return to her regional position in KwaZulu-Natal, Shabangu revealed to MPs this week.
Bhengu herself had succeeded former acting chief executive Thokozani Magwaza in July last year, whose relationship with Dlamini deteriorated during his tenure, and resigned amid security threats on his life. — News 24