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Bathabile Dlamini found guilty of perjury

Former minister of social development Bathabile Dlamini at the Johannesburg magistrate's court.
Former minister of social development Bathabile Dlamini at the Johannesburg magistrate's court.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/Sunday Times

ANC’s Woman League president and former minister of social development Bathabile Dlamini has been found guilty of perjury. 

Johannesburg magistrate Betty Khumalo made the determination on Wednesday afternoon after several technical glitches.   

Khumalo said she was satisfied that Dlamini in her written statement and oral testimony gave false evidence under oath at an inquiry instituted by the Constitutional Court

“ I am finding that the state has succeeded to prove the main count of perjury. As such, the accused is found to have knowingly and intentionally disposed of false evidence in substance to the effect that the work streams did not directly report to her, that she did not attend meetings of the work streams…” 

Khumalo dismissed arguments brought by Dlamini’s lawyer that the defence was merely grasping at straws and that some arguments had no merits.  

Dressed in a red coat and navy pants, Dlamini appeared to be in disbelief after Khumalo's judgment. This as heavyweights of the ANC RET faction came in numbers to pledge their support. Among them were suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule, NEC member Tony Yengeni and former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo. 

Dlamini was charged with perjury after a Constitutional Court judgment in 2018 in the wake of an inquiry into whether she should pay costs in her personal capacity for the social grants payments debacle.

One of the issues the inquiry — headed by retired Gauteng judge president Bernard Ngoepe — probed was whether Dlamini had appointed work streams of the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) to ensure Sassa could take over the payment of social grants from Cash Paymaster Services.

The ConCourt said the inquiry found that Dlamini appointed individuals to lead the parallel work streams and those individuals reported to her. The work streams were supposed to report to the Sassa executive committee, not to the minister.

Dlamini denied lying under oath when she said the workstreams did not report to her. .

However, Khumalo said all evidence pointed that workstreams did indeed report to her.   

Court proceedings are under way to determine a suitable sentence.