'I was made a scapegoat,' says Dlamini in scathing resignation letter

Bathabile Dlamini. File photo.
Bathabile Dlamini. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell/Sunday Times

ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini said she was made a scapegoat and an easy target as she resigned as a member of parliament on Tuesday.

In a ten-page letter signed by Dlamini and sent to ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, Dlamini spoke her mind on the state of the ANC and her role in the grants debacle of 2017.

“I hold no grudge for being reshuffled and not being appointed,” Dlamini said adding that there was “a lot of noise” aimed at discrediting her.

She said in the constitutional court judgment against her in the Sassa case “not once was I proven to be corrupt”.

Dlamini insisted that ANC leaders must “have two ears” and treat all members accused of wrongdoing equally.

“Given the influence of the media nowadays and how it has been used to destroy some of us. The African National Congress has the responsibility of giving all of us a hearing, more particularly those that serve in the executive,” Dlamini bemoaned.

Her resignation from parliament on Monday came after President Cyril Ramaphosa did not include her in his cabinet.

Had she remained as an ordinary member of the national assembly, she would have lost her right to a significant pension as a former minister.

Dlamini used her letter to Magashule to hit out at some leaders of the party, saying some of them have “made themselves look clean when that has not been proven”.

She said a challenge in the party is that there are people who think they “own” the president and the secretary-general, without elaborating who they were.

“The very same people that complained about this during the past leadership are repeating this and I am not sure whether they think this is good when it is done by them,” Dlamini wrote.

She further added: “It is also worrisome that these are members in the NEC that have fought all presidents from president Nelson Mandela, president Thabo Mbeki and president Jacob Zuma. I am waiting to see what they are planning for the present leadership.”

Dlamini claimed there were many foreign behaviours creeping into the party but that no one was prepared to stop it.

She bemoaned the state of the party before the Nasrec conference in 2017 saying, “the ANC has never attended a conference under such a cloud”.

Turning to the the controversy over the payment of grants last year, Dlamini accused her former cabinet colleagues of “treason” for suggesting the South African Post Office distribute social grants “when they knew the Post Office did not have the capacity to pay grants”.

The Constitutional Court was forced to extend a contract between Sassa, which Dlamini was in charge of as minister of social development, and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), even though the contract was found to have been illegal.

She was accused to have failed to ensure that Sassa was equipped to administer social grants after the contract with CPS was due to expire.

The court then ordered an inquiry to determine the culpability around the social grants crisis and in a subsequent judgment, the court described Dlamini’s conduct as “reckless and grossly negligent”‚ saying she failed to disclose information before an inquiry into her role in the social grants debacle.

Dlamini, in her letter to Magashule, said she found CPS at the department when she was first appointed and accused unnamed ANC leaders of making profit through CPS through their wives, saying those people are known but because they are well-respected by the party nothing has been said to them.

“I have been made a scapegoat, an easy target,” she said.

Dlamini further took a jab at former minister Jeff Radebe, saying “what happened when minister Jeff Radebe took over (the managing of the grants crisis) is a story for another day”.

“He started taking over the role of the minister of social development and no one raised the matter with him and I kept quiet. The whole process took another turn,” she said.

Dlamini also accused minister Pravin Gordhan of “working with the banks”.

“Actually the first time I communicated with minister Pravin Gordhan, he suggested that we should call everyone to go and register with banks and it became clear to me that he worked with banks,” she wrote.

Dlamini said the crisis around the payment of grants was “engineered somewhere” because she wanted the distribution of grants taken to a local level.

“Presently we are all quiet because we are afraid of asking relevant questions. We are afraid of talking about a system that had been taken to another level and was destroying those that behave as if they are defending the country when they are defending monopoly capital,” she hit back.


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