It’s no secret that SASSA is running low on funds, but the sheer scarcity of what remains in the coffers is likely to turn many heads. The agency revealed on Wednesday that they now have ‘less than half a billion rand left’ for social grants.
The shock admission came during a day of reckoning for SASSA. Dianne Dunkerley, the Deputy Director-General for the branch of Social Development, revealed that there’s nothing left in the pot to properly fund temporary disability grants. With the R350 SRD grant also coming to an end in January, it seems the department’s accounts have been emptied out:
#DisabilityGrants SASSA Deputy Director General responsible for social grants, Dianne Dunkerley, was briefing the Portfolio Committee on Social Development earlier, where she indicated that the agency only has a budget of R411 million. IMS— CapricornFM News (@CapricornFMNews) January 20, 2021
The Parliamentary Inquiry, designed to drive introspection and find solutions from SASSA’s key operatives, temporarily descended into farce. Minister Lindiwe Zulu took offence to the DA allegedly calling her a ‘prima donna’ and refused to answer their questions. Her opposite number, Bridget Masango, emphatically condemned this behaviour:
“We are shocked that Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu avoided answering our questions in a Social Development Portfolio Committee meeting by hiding behind a baseless allegation. The Minister refused to answer questions by claiming that I had called her a prima-donna in a previous statement. The DA has never resorted to this, though.”
“If the Minister does wish to attribute such an insult to a member of an opposition party, Honourable Bantu Holomisa from the UDM called the Ministers collectively prima-donnas in a 2020 interview with 702. It’s clear that Minister Zulu feels this shoe fits. She must stop playing childish games and focus on finding an urgent solution to this humanitarian crisis.”Bridget Masango