Cyril Ramaphosa defends decision to keep Bathabile Dlamini in cabinet

President Cyril Ramaphosa defended his decision not to axe Bathabile Dlamini.
President Cyril Ramaphosa defended his decision not to axe Bathabile Dlamini.
Image: Esa Alexander

President Cyril Ramaphosa says his decision to keep minister in the presidency responsible for women Bathabile Dlamini was not made in "bad faith or under duress".

Ramaphosa defended his decision not to show Dlamini the door despite widespread public sentiment that she should be fired‚ in papers filed to the North Gauteng High Court on Friday.

The president argued that the findings of the Constitutional Court and the inquiry by judge Bernard Ngoepe did "not disqualify her from continued membership in the cabinet".

"That being the case‚ it is my political judgment that she should remain in cabinet‚" Ramaphosa said in an affidavit responding to an application by the DA that seeks to compel him to fire her.

His affidavit comes a day after he said in an interview on talk radio 702 that Dlamini was doing "a fantastic job".

The minister is under active investigation by the Hawks for perjury after a recommendation by the Constitutional Court that the director of public prosecutions should consider whether she lied under oath and should be prosecuted for perjury.

"Having considered the allegations in the present application‚ the Constitutional Court judgment and the report of Ngoepe JP‚ I have decided not to remove [Dlamini] from the cabinet‚" said Ramaphosa.

Dlamini was chastised by the apex court for her conduct in handling the Sassa debacle in which more than 17 million people risked not getting their social grants.

The court labelled her "reckless and grossly negligent".

When the case was heard in 2017‚ chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng questioned Dlamini’s competence‚ asking her lawyer at the time: "How do you get to the level where your clients make themselves look like they are incompetent?"

In his affidavit‚ Ramaphosa further said: "Decisions as to whom to appoint and to retain in the cabinet are decisions of an essentially political nature‚ which‚ I respectfully submit‚ are not matters ... to be debated in court.”

He argued that the DA had failed to take up the matter against Dlamini in parliament.

Ramaphosa has since asked the court to dismiss the application.

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