The United Democratic Movement (UDM) finds the revelations by today’s Sunday Times as damning of President Jacob Zuma, as it is of Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini.

The Minister acted on the basis of unsolicited advice from the President’s special- and legal adviser, Mr Michael Hulley, and despite the concerns and protestations of developmental officials and the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa). She undermined and defied the sound legal advice of one of the most renowned legal minds in South Africa, Advocate Wim Trengove SC, as well as other independent lawyers.

The arrogance displayed by the Minister since this chaos became public, as well as the uninvited intervention of Mr Hulley, suggests that the President’s hand is at the centre of the crisis.

The big question is: Who mandated Mr Hulley to attend meetings uninvited and unwelcome? His boss must answer this. The state law advisors seem to not have been involved throughout this process, yet Mr Hulley spends time doing what he is not appointed for. One would have expected the state lawyers, internal departmental and Sassa legal advisers to advise the Minister.

It is very clear, that the Minister and the Office of the President have direct interests in making sure that the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract is extended regardless of the legalities and the Constitutional Court order.

This is another example of clear manipulation of the process, intended to grossly undermine the rule of law and accountability. The centrality of the President, through his adviser, means that he is part of this chaos. We were not surprised by Mr Zuma’s recent response to the loud call of South Africans to release the dubious Minister from her responsibilities.

The fact that the President has decided to side with the Minister means he too is at fault. Clearly, the President and his minister are showing South Africans, the Constitutional Court and, in particular, the social grants beneficiaries the middle figure.

It is for this reason that the UDM calls for the immediate resignation of both President Zuma and Minister Dlamini.

If the African National Congress (ANC), as is always the case, fails to remove these questionable characters from service, South Africans must vote the ANC out of power in 2019 for its failure to put South Africa first.

The ANC has always put itself and its corrupt leader above the interests of South Africans. It spouts words in favour of the people, yet its actions are against the people. Even this morning the ANC was on national television launching its so-called new policy proposal, yet their President and his faction are busy with faction battles and bankrupting the country.