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Government Departments Delaying Filing of Papers to the ConCourt, Nothing New – Dr Cathy Powell

Mar 14, 2017

Mohamed Ameen Dabhelia – 2017/03/14

It has now emerged that Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini did in fact file the papers requested by the Constitutional Court over the South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa’s) grant payment saga, but did so, late last night, according to her lawyer Tim Sukazi.

The Con Court gave Sassa until 4pm on Tuesday afternoon to file its papers, a deadline they missed.

The court last week issued a directive to Sassa to explain, among other issues, who is responsible for deciding that Sassa could not immediately take over the payment of grants and pensions after March 2017, and when that person became aware of that fact.

Sassa says the public protector and auditor general should monitor the process in the coming weeks as it scrambles to secure the payment of social grants from April.

Public Law expert and senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town (UCT), Dr Cathy Powell told Radio Islam that most government departments, in most of its constitutional cases, delays the filing of its papers to the Con Court.

“They would just apply for condemnation of the late filing, which it might still do, technically, the minister and the department are in contempt of court and the penalties of contempt of court go up to jailing.”

Powell says what the department has done under law is very serious; however she doubts that the court will order the arrest of the social development minister.

She adds that government has started to ignore court rulings, highlighting the 2014 judgement that Sassa’s contract with Cash Paymaster Services was illegal, yet, till today are still using the service as the grant pay master.

Powell admits that its evident government structures are ignoring court rulings against them; something she says seems to be an ever increasing issue.

Meanwhile, Sassa says it doesn’t want the court to be part of the new negotiations because it does not have all the pertinent information before it.

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