Bathabile Dlamini accuses MPs of plotting to jail her

02 November 2017 - 06:00
By Babalo Ndenze
Bathabile Dlamini. IMAGE: KYLE COWAN
Bathabile Dlamini. IMAGE: KYLE COWAN

Social development minister Bathabile Dlamini will not take advice from MPs on how to deal with the social grant crisis because she claims they were “conniving” to get her imprisoned.

Dlamini made the shocking assertion in the National Assembly on Wednesday while responding to questions on the looming grant payment crisis.

Dlamini‚ who is also the president of the ANC Women's League‚ lashed out at MPs accusing them of "conniving" and trying their best to destabilise the process of finding a new social grant payment system.

A combative Dlamini said lawmakers serving on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the social development portfolio committee thought they were "angels" after they grilled her on the matter at a joint meeting on Tuesday.

"When you told South Africans that ANC members have got smallanyana skeletons we did not believe you." 

"Next time I'm going to ask the committee if they say there must be negotiations‚ they must write a letter saying they must negotiate [on Sassa's behalf]. Because the next thing that will happen is that I will find myself in prison because of the wrong decisions that you push in committees and [you] behave as if you are angels and innocent‚" said Dlamini.

Opposition MPs loudly cheered and applauded when Dlamini spoke of her fears of going to jail.

Dlamini‚ the Post Office and Sassa are embroiled in a deadlocked dispute on how to proceed with the payment of social grants by April 2018 following a Constitutional Court ruling that social grant distribution of grants be moved away from Cash Paymaster Services.

Dlamini first accused IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe of meddling with their adjudication and tender processes.

"These are things that happen in the committee that you serve on. Even the deadlock (between Sassa and Post Office) was created because we said we are going to follow proper procedure. But a backlog was created. We have discussed the matter but we need to be very careful‚" said Dlamini.

EFF MP Mzingisi Dlamini said he welcomed the minister's fear of jail. "Today you are saying there is likelihood that you are going to prison. I wish you all the best. I wish you can go fast. Don't leave Jacob Zuma‚ don't leave (Mosebenzi) Zwane and don't leave Des (van Rooyen) with you‚" he said.

The EFF MP also said they were wrong not to believe the minister when she stunned the nation last year by declaring that ANC leaders had "smallanyana skeletons"‚ in an attempt to defend President Jacob Zuma against mounting allegations of corruption.

"When you told South Africans that ANC members have got smallanyana skeletons we did not believe you. We want to apologise for that. We should have believed you because you are telling the truth‚" said EFF's Dlamini. The DA's Bridgette Masango suggested that minister Dlamini was applying delaying tactics as a ploy to "give the illegal contract back to CPS".

But minister Dlamini hit back at Masango. "You don't understand Sassa… You've never gone through the report and [now you] come and say here that I am lying. The report is not saying what you are saying. What you are saying is full of populism‚" said Dlamini.