The gloves are off in the ongoing spat between Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and axed finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
Dlamini wasted no time in responding to Gordhan after he took a swipe at her during a memorial service for struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada on Wednesday.
“He enjoys harassing other people, he enjoys chastising people; he enjoys bullying other people. It’s his hobby.
He wants to be followed by everyone. He has feelings of grandeur, he thinks he is bigger than everyone in the world,” an angry Dlamini told News24 on Thursday.
In his address during the memorial Gordhan said Dlamini did not have the humility to admit her wrongs over the grants distribution debacle.
Without naming Dlamini, Gordhan insinuated that as leader Dlamini needed to stop telling lies and admit that she had dropped the ball.
He also defended South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) chief executive Thakozani Magwaza, saying he could not be blamed for leaving 17-million grant beneficiaries anxious.
“One must have the humility, the courage and the sensibility to say: ‘Honestly, I didn’t keep an eye on this ball; there’s a mistake that was made,’” Gordhan said.
‘Tired of them’
Peeved by his criticism, Dlamini questioned why Gordhan had chosen to speak out now, after he was fired by President Jacob Zuma last week.
The two ministers recently clashed over appointing a new service provider to distribute grants.
Treasury had proposed that banks be used to replace grants distributor Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) whose contract was deemed invalid by the Constitutional Court. The contract ended on March 31.
It had also proposed that the biometric system be excluded from tender conditions as this would favour CPS. But both proposals were rejected by Dlamini.
“And he wants us to believe him when he says we must not use biometrics in our tender processes when he has interests in banks? He must mind his own business and leave other people. I am tired of them. He must just leave me alone and deal with his own issues,” Dlamini said.
Dlamini accused Gordhan of trying to sabotage the distribution of grants.
“He has been going to companies telling them to do all sorts of things so that the payments could be a disaster.
“Judgment by the courts was a victory for us because he was moving from pillar to post. I don’t want any man to step on my toe now,” Dlamini said, labelling Gordhan a chauvinist who doesn’t “deal with people who don’t say ‘Yes Baas’ to him”.
‘Patriarchy at its best’
She said Gordhan must instead deal with his own issues, including his refusal to answer to the Hawks and the NPA when they were investigating him for paying out an early pension to former SARS executive Ivan Pillay.
“He was asked to account to the Hawks and the NPA and that was a chance, but he became a victim. We have all been to the Public Protector to explain ourselves. You can’t bully people and think you going to survive through bullying people.”
Charges against Gordhan were later dropped.
Dlamini said Gordhan’s comments were linked to the African National Congress succession battle.
As president of the ANC Women’s League, she is lobbying for former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to replace the president.
“If they want to fight at the conference they must mobilise branches and go to conference and leave me alone because this is about the ANC conference and nothing else, and they can say whatever they want but this is patriarchy at its best,” Dlamini said.
She said her focus now is on meeting the time frames set by the Constitutional Court for the department and Sassa.
The court ruled that the CPS contract be extended by 12 months and that Dlamini submit reports every three months on progress in finding a new service provider. – News24