In order to exercise absolute control over a R300 million food parcel tender, Minister Bathabile Dlamini reshuffled some provincial heads of the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) and placed others on a special leave.

The Sassa provincial heads reshuffled, and those placed on special leave were all reluctant to support her plans for the R300 million tender.

According to the report, the Social Development Minister is now having a fight with senior managers at the department who think she’s being manipulative in order to gain utmost control of the R300 million tender.

Already, eight provinces now have acting provincial heads. While Sakhumzi Yawa, the Eastern Cape provincial Sassa head was placed on a special leave, Western Cape’s Waldemar Terblanche and Mpumalanga’s Moffat Mogane abandoned their post and it’s still unknown why they left.

Also, it’s unknown what happened to other provincial heads who were replaced by acting provincial managers.

Reliable sources disclosed that the reshuffling of senior managers was orchestrated to enable a new system of sourcing food parcels which had previously been sourced from local service providers.

One of the sources was quoted to have said: “the plan was – as they arrive in their new offices, they will arrive to a concocted plan where they won’t be able to oppose. Immediately after that, new companies will come and render services, where they won’t have a word because the same companies are employed by the national office.”

Another source indicated that the move to rotate senior executive managers was strongly advised against.

“For instance,” said the source, “the Free State executive manager was to be moved to the Western Cape and the Western Cape manager to another province. The Eastern Cape head was to be moved to Limpopo and the Limpopo one to somewhere else.

“But this never affected the KwaZulu-Natal executive manager. We told them that this was never seen before, we are not a cabinet, you can’t just chop and change. What’s the motive behind this, why reshuffle, why rotate most senior staff members like this?” asked the source.

The department has already awarded tenders to three KwaZulu-Natal- based companies to supply food parcels to the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Western Cape.

The annual budget made provision for about R60 million worth of food parcels for each of South Africa’s nine provinces. The food parcels are to be distributed to the needy in each province.