Pretoria – National Treasury has dismissed a media report suggesting that there is a war looming between the Ministers of Finance Pravin Gordhan and Social Development Bathabile Dlamini.
In a statement on Wednesday, National Treasury said the context and the headlines are glaringly misleading. The media report is over welfare grant payments.
“From the onset, National Treasury acknowledges that, the Minister of Social Development has sole and primary responsibility for the function of paying social grants and that the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA), as the responsible authority for paying social grants must take a final decision on the matter.”
National Treasury needs to put it on record that, its involvement in the matter of the payment of grants beyond the 31 March 2017 was at the behest of the Department of Social Department (DSD) and SASSA.
“Accordingly, National Treasury explored and analysed the pros and cons of a range of payment options and provided expert inputs in areas of procurement, public finance, financial sector policy, banking and other related matters. However, it is up to SASSA as to which option to choose taking into account all relevant facts, laws and regulations.”
Treasury said this includes the relevant decision of the courts in the same matter.
“National Treasury is happy that the DSD has committed to seek the view of the Constitutional Court insofar as the option it prefers is concerned on which the court has previously made a determination.”
In addition, Treasury said it stands ready to assist the Department of Social Development and SASSA by any legal means possible to achieve the goal of paying grants to deserving South Africans relying on such grants.
Meanwhile, National Treasury cautioned the public and media houses regarding the disinformation and “fake news” campaign directed towards its leadership as it prepares for the 2017 Budget.
“In the past few days, various attacks and unfounded allegations have been made with the intention to misdirect the leadership’s focus. Coupled with that are allegations that are reported without any further interrogation or establishing the veracity thereof.
“We view this as yet another nefarious attempt to distract the institution from focusing on the important work of preparing for the budget to be presented on the 22nd February 2017,” said Treasury.
In the past two days, the National Treasury media monitoring team has picked up that, whilst the already exposed fake news sites are being taken down, new fake news sites have arisen.
“As South Africans are waiting in anticipation on what the coming budget holds for them, National Treasury commits not to lose focus from its work and is steadfast in presenting a budget which promotes inclusive economic growth,” it said.