ConCourt orders Bathabile Dlamini to cough up for legal costs in social grants saga

Former Social Development Minister and current Minister of Women Bathabile Dlamini.
Former Social Development Minister and current Minister of Women Bathabile Dlamini.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has been found personally liable for 20% of the legal costs incurred by the Black Sash and Freedom under Law over the social grants fiasco.

The finding was made by the Constitutional Court in a judgment handed down on Thursday.

In a unanimous judgment‚ penned by Justice Johan Froneman‚ Dlamini was criticised for her role in handling the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) debacle.

The court ordered Dlamini to pay‚ in her personal capacity‚ 20% of the costs of Black Sash and Freedom Under Law‚ including the costs of two counsel.

The court also directed that copies of the judgment and the findings of an inquiry headed by Judge Bernard Ngoepe – held to determine Dlamini’s role in the social grants saga – be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether she lied under oath and should be prosecuted for perjury.

Ngoepe had earlier criticised Dlamini for her testimony during the probe.

This publication reported in May that Ngoepe had said that:

- She unjustifiably answered ‘I don’t know’ or ‘ I don’t remember’ to important questions.- She would simply not answer some of the questions.- She gave long answers that did not relate to the question asked.- Ngoepe pointed out that he had at one stage even questioned whether the interpreter had correctly conveyed a question‚ but he had no doubt that Dlamini had understood the question given her command of English.

“She was too evasive to some questions. She would answer questions with questions‚” Ngoepe said.

The inquiry was ordered by the Constitutional Court in order to determine culpability around the social grants crisis.

Dlamini was accused of failing to ensure that Sassa was equipped to administer social grants after a contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) was due to expire. The court was forced to extend the contract‚ even though it had been found illegal.

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