Zuma: Firing Dlamini now would be 'a funny democracy'

Zuma: Firing Dlamini now would be 'a funny democracy'

President Jacob Zuma has told the National Assembly that he cannot take action against Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, since April 1 has not yet arrived. 

President Jacob Zuma in Parliament_gcis
Photo: GCIS

President Zuma was answering oral questions for the first time this year.


Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane asked President Zuma if he did not believe it was time to fire Minister Dlamini for her role in the social grant crisis.


"I think you have issued a statement to say grants will be paid on 1 April. That is not the question. My question is if somebody can bring South Africa to such a situation and ignore the Constitutional Court and act as a minister and evade all accountability, do you not believe it is time for you to act and remove Minister Bathabile Dlamini from the cabinet?" asked Maimane.


But President Zuma said there is no failure to pay grants yet. 


"This is another kind of democracy that if you suspect that somebody is going to fail or make a mistake, you must punish that person before it happens. That is a funny democracy," replied President Zuma.


President Zuma maintained that he has answered the question when he was pushed for an answer by the FF Plus' Pieter Mulder.


"You say there is no problem, because nothing has happened. Your own party issued a statement this morning to say we urgently need to find out how did this happened. How did we get into this crisis that the Constitutional Court now has to express itself? The Chief Justice yesterday basically said the minister is incompetent. The point is, those allowances may be paid on 1 April, but currently there is a crisis. Your own party admits it," said Mulder.


President Zuma reiterated that 1 April has not yet arrived.


"You can't say people have not been paid, because the date has not arrived. That's the point I was making. People are working to make sure the beneficiaries will receive their benefits on 1 April. Only after 1 April you can say to me why I have not taken action," said President Zuma.


The president was again pushed for an answer on action against Dlamini by the IFP's Linda van der Merwe.


"This is not about 1 April and whether grants will be paid or not. You have to pay grants, it is your responsibility. This is about a rogue minister that ignored the Constitutional Court for three years, did nothing to ready herself for 1 April, that has put at risk the lives of the most vulnerable...so I am asking you if you are telling us that you will take no steps against the minister. Are you also telling us that the respect for our courts and the rule of law is optional," asked Van der Merwe.


President Zuma said Van der Merwe repeated the questions he has already answered.


"Since there is freedom of speech for her to do so, I will repeat my answers as well," replied President Zuma.

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