Dodging Dlamini misleads Parliament on Q Link contract
The DA will today report Minister Bathabile Dlamini to the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkwhebane, for misleading Parliament in a recent response to a DA Parliamentary question.
In a reply to a DA Parliamentary question, Dodging Dlamini stated that “SASSA has, after following a procurement process, contracted Q Link […] for a period of 5 years.”
In her reply, the Minister states that Q Link is a service provider which manages “payroll deductions for SASSA as well as government”.
However, the Minister’s written response was contradicted by National Treasury as well as SASSA executives in Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and again in yesterday’s Portfolio Committee on Social Development.
When the contract with QLink was raised in Tuesday’s SCOPA meeting, Treasury said that a contract could not have been entered because Treasury had declined the application for the expansion of scope for QLink.
Both the Acting SASSA CEO, Pearl Bhengu, and SASSA CFO, Tsakeriwa Chauke, vehemently denied that a contract had been entered into with QLink, on the grounds of Treasury’s instruction. This was again confirmed by Ms Bhengu in Wednesday’s Portfolio Committee meeting on Social Development.
So, we now have a situation where SASSA officials and Treasury say no contract with QLink has been entered into, while on the other hand, the Minister is claiming that there is a contract.
This either points towards the Minister being dishonest and misleading Parliament or she entered into a contract with QLink without following proper channels of consultations. Her lack of transparency or willful misleading of Parliament highlights the importance of the role of SCOPA in holding executives to account and they must continue to do so.
The DA has therefore referred this matter to the Public Protector to get to the bottom of the confusion surrounding the QLink contract.
The DA also calls on the Minister to make the details of the contract available to the Portfolio Committee, if the contract indeed exists.
Minister Dlamini and SASSA must stop playing games with the lives of the 17 million South Africans who depend on them.
Issued by Lindy Wilson, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Social Development, 7 September 2017