Bathabile Dlamini must face criminal charges‚ says DA

The Constitutional Court found that Dlamini had failed to disclose information before an inquiry that probed her role in the social grants debacle.
The Constitutional Court found that Dlamini had failed to disclose information before an inquiry that probed her role in the social grants debacle.
Image: Leon Sadiki/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images

The Democratic Alliance on Tuesday said it planned to lay charges against former social services minister Bathabile Dlamini.

“Last week the Constitutional Court handed down a scathing judgment calling Minister Dlamini ‘reckless and grossly negligent’ and requested that the National Prosecuting Authority consider whether she should be prosecuted for lying under oath‚” said DA Shadow Minister of Social Development Bridget Masango.

“It is clear that Dlamini is not fit for office and the DA has given President Cyril Ramaphosa until Friday‚ 5th October‚ to remove her from his cabinet‚” she added.

“Dodging Dlamini has been allowed to escape accountability by the failing ANC for too long. She must be charged to face the consequences of putting the lives of millions of vulnerable South Africans at risk. These criminal charges are but one step the DA is taking to ensure that justice prevails.”

The Constitutional Court found that Dlamini had failed to disclose information before an inquiry that probed her role in the social grants debacle.

The apex court found that Dlamini should be held personally liable for 20% of the legal costs of the Black Sash Trust and Freedom Under Law application‚ including the costs of two counsel. The remainder of the costs are to be covered by government. The finding was a unanimous judgment‚ penned by Justice Johan Froneman.

“The inference that she did not act in good faith in doing so is irresistible. At best‚ her conduct was reckless and grossly negligent. All that is sufficient reason for a personal cost order‚” the court ruled.

“It would account for her degree of culpability in misleading the court – conduct which is deserving of censure by this court as a mark of displeasure – more so since she held a position of responsibility as a member of the executive‚” said Justice Froneman.

The court noted the report by retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe‚ who chaired the inquiry‚ which revealed that Dlamini lied when she gave oral evidence and in affidavits filed at the court.

Froneman described Ngoepe’s report as “diplomatic‚ but nevertheless damning”.

“The registrar of this court must be directed to forward a copy of the inquiry report and this judgment to the National Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether minister Dlamini lied under oath and whether she should be prosecuted for perjury‚” Froneman said.

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