Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will not support calls for the removal of embattled social development minister Bathabile Dlamini‚ saying only President Zuma was in a position to evaluate a minister’s performance.
Ramaphosa was answering a wide range of questions in the National Assembly on Thursday‚ including questions about the social grant crisis facing Dlamini and the department of social development.
He encouraged MPs to allow the department and ministry time to resolve the problems at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
Ramaphosa said the entire social grant debacle was being dealt with by the Constitutional Court.
“Members of the executive are evaluated by the president who appoints them. The president evaluates the deputy president and members of the executive on an ongoing basis. In his hand rests the power to appoint and do otherwise.
“It really belongs to realm of presidential prerogative and it’s the president only who can do so‚” said Ramaphosa.
His response was prompted by questions from DA leader Mmusi Maimane and UDM leader Bantu Holomisa.
“There is a point as South Africans to stand on the side of the poor. Would you support the call to say minister Dlamini should in fact resign for this crisis over social grants?” asked Maimane.
Holomisa said Dlamini’s performance during a Scopa meeting earlier this week had gone beyond “undermining the National Assembly” and bringing the “executive and country into disrepute“.
“Would you advise the president to consider evaluating [her] fitness to hold office” The same woman who said when we asked about deductions [of social grants]‚ said she was investigating yet it’s part of the agreement with CPS. When are you evaluating her?” asked Holomisa.
Maimane also asked Ramaphosa how many times he had arranged with Dlamini to appear before portfolio
Committee on social development since his appointment in May 2014‚ as the Leader of Government Business‚ responsible for arranging attendance of cabinet members.
Ramaphosa said in terms of the Constitution‚ members of the cabinet are accountable collectively and individually to parliament for the exercise of powers and performance of their functions.
“The National Assembly and parliament have much more overriding powers than the leader of government business because here we’re talking about what the constitution sets out. The constitution gives us as parliament the power to make members of executive accountable to us as a collective‚” said Ramaphosa.