All eyes will be on the Constitutional Court this morning when Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) must present their cases in the social grant payment debacle.
Dlamini and Sassa filed affidavits on Monday to explain why they didn't comply with a 4pm deadline set by the very court they will be appearing before.
The court wanted Dlamini and Sassa to clarify certain points about the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract, which is due to expire at the end of this month ahead of Wednesday's court case.
In her affidavit, Dlamini says she made every effort to comply with the court's direction to file papers by 4pm on Monday.
Similarly, Sassa’s attorney Timothy Sukazi stated that delays of the sort were not uncommon.
But Dlamini and Sassa missed yet another crucial deadline on Tuesday by filing their affidavits 11 minutes late.
On Wednesday, the court will hear arguments about why Sassa wants a new interim contract with CPS and why it didn't inform the court last year that it couldn't take over social grant payments from the company.
At the same time, CPS says if a deal is not in place by Wednesday it won't be able to pay social grants on 1 April because it needs time to access funds.
Minister Dlamini, however, remains adamant that there are no grounds for calling the debacle of recent weeks a ‘social grants crisis’.
Opposition parties in the National Assembly on Tuesday accused her of deliberately manufacturing a crisis to pave the way for a new deal with CPS.
They believe any further association with CPS will be tantamount to corruption and Dlamini must resign.
Dlamini stood her ground and deflected blame.
“The opposition claims there is a crisis at Sassa. This is nothing but mere self-serving propaganda and political grandstanding.”
But the Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP) Liezl van der Merwe says an ad hoc committee must be established to probe the CPS contract.
“The only thing we still need to figure out is to what end you created this crisis and whose interests are you serving.”
Chairperson of Parliament’s public accounts committee Themba Godi says he believes the social grants debacle is a well-orchestrated ruse.
The deadline for pay-outs remains April 1st and the 17 million beneficiaries wait with baited breath.