Dlamini explains why she should not pay legal fees in grants case

31 March 2017 - 19:06
By Ernest Mabuza
Bathabile Dlamini. Photo: Kyle Cowan
Bathabile Dlamini. Photo: Kyle Cowan

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says there was no wilful intent on her part to disregard the 2014 order of the Constitutional Court regarding the payment of social grants to millions of recipients.

Dlamini made this statement in an affidavit submitted to the court as a result of its judgment passed earlier this month.

The court was dealing with an urgent application by the Black Sash Trust following the South African Social Agency’s acknowledgement it would not be able to pay millions of grants itself‚ despite promising the court in November 2015 it would do so.

The court ordered that Cash Paymaster Services was under a constitutional obligation to ensure payment of social grant to beneficiaries from April 1 this year to April 1 2018.

The court wanted Dlamini to show cause why she should not be joined in her personal capacity and why she should pay the costs of the application from her own pocket.

In her affidavit‚ said she should not be made to pay and detailed how she discharged her duties as minister.

Dlamini said she had believed that the South African Social Security Service would be able to procure another service provider.

“As it turned out‚ this could not be achieved as there were no compliant bidders.”

Dlamini said she believed the application by Sassa to deviate from a competitive procurement process would be approved by Treasury. This did not happen.

“At that point hindsight shows that there would have been no legally valid platform to provide those social services without the approval of this Court. This I regret‚” Dlamini said.

"I respectfully submit that there was no willful intent on my part to disregard the order of the court or to undermine the realisation of the guaranteed constitutional rights of social grant beneficiaries.

I therefore respectfully submit that I ought not be joined in these proceedings nor should I be ordered to pay the costs of this litigation out of own pocket‚" Dlamini said.