ANC member of Parliament Dr Makhosi Khoza has hit back at the DA’s claims that she earned money from the South African Social Security Agency and did not declare it in Parliament’s register of members’ interests.
Khoza, who chaired the ad hoc committee on the Public Protector last year, accused the DA of “character assassination”.
This after DA MP Tim Brauteseth yesterday in Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) quizzed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on it. Gordhan briefed MPs on the ongoing uncertainty regarding social grant payouts after the existing contract for payouts expires on March 31.
Brauteseth told the committee Khoza served on the advisory committee that had to advise the minister on how Sassa could take over the payment of grants from Cash Paymaster Services.
It was estimated that about R4 million was spent on this in the period of a year.
Brauteseth has grilled Sassa since last year over this spending, especially given that Sassa is currently in crisis mode over grants despite the committee’s services.
He questioned Sassa on allegations that individuals who steered the workstreams of the advisory committee benefited by using their own companies to do the work the committee recommended.
Sassa earlier in Scopa admitted no procurement process was followed as is legally required.
Yesterday Brauteseth took aim at Khoza and told the committee she allegedly received payments totalling R1 million. He raised concerns over her allegedly “not declaring” it.
Khoza told Media24 the “accusation is baseless and is tantamount to character assassination”. According to her she was only remunerated for the work done prior to being sworn in as an MP.
The figures on the payment remittance she showed Media24 only reveals a payment of R167,874.50.
According to Brauteseth, however, Khoza was paid R500 000 on two occasions.
Khoza said: “It is also untrue that I never declared any benefit from Sassa during my tenure as an MP. At the time Sassa paid for my travel (expenses) as a new member since at that stage I was not familiar with how the parliamentary member travel system works. Sassa paid and these were declared.”
Khoza said as chairperson of the ministerial advisory committee in 2014 she “did her work diligently”.
She distanced herself from allegations of fellow advisory committee members who became service providers, as alleged by Brauteseth.
“As you can see from my report nothing to that effect was ever discussed. In fact, it constitutes a serious conflict of interest if indeed it took place.”
She also expressed disappointment that the recommendations drafted under her stewardship appeared not to have been taken forward given the urgency of these matters. Khoza said she had no engagements with Sassa and the other members of the advisory committee after late 2014.
Gordhan declined to comment on this and said it was a “parliamentary matter” and the ethics committee would probably be the best suited to deal with such issues.