'No woman must go through that': ANCWL rallies behind Bathabile Dlamini in pension wrangle
The ANC Women's League (ANCWL) has come out in support of its president, former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini, who is embroiled in a pension payout dispute with the state.
The league on Friday lambasted the withholding of Dlamini's pension for nearly three years and for reasons allegedly unknown to her.
“The national executive committee (NEC) resolved to make it categorically clear that we support our president comrade Bathabile Dlamini in her demand for her pension which is due to her,” said ANCWL secretary-general Meokgo Matuba.
“The president took the ANCWL into confidence that she was never given reasons why her pension has been withheld for three years now. We believe no woman must go through what she is subjected to, especially as a single mother.”
The SowetanLIVE's sister publication Sunday Times reported that Dlamini, who resigned from parliament in 2019, was unable to pay part of the legal costs of two NGOs that won a landmark social grants case against her in 2018. This was due to her ministerial pension being blocked.
In 2018 the Constitutional Court ordered the former minister, Sassa and its CEO must pay 80% of the legal costs in their official capacity. Dlamini was liable for 20% of the bill in her personal capacity because the grants crisis was largely caused by her negligence and recklessness, the court ruled.
Dlamini told the Sunday Times she believed the pension issue was politically motivated. The ANCWL expressed similar sentiments.
“We find no other logic for this than to conclude that it is nothing but cheap politics by those who want to settle political scores using the welfare of president Bathabile and her family,” the league said.
It has since emerged that the order to block Dlamini's payout came from Sassa.
Department of justice & constitutional development spokesperson Stephen Mahlangu said the reasons for withholding her pension were known by Dlamini - a claim she refuted.
“The information before the solicitor-general reveals the instruction to withhold the payment of the former minister’s pension was received from Sassa. Reasons for the withdrawal of the pension are well-known by the former minister and Sassa. Thus far, no party has contested this, nor has there been any intention to do so.
“The state attorney acts upon the instruction of its client, which are the departments and state entities it represents. This matter is being litigated by the parties, which include the former minister,” said Mahlangu.
Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi could not be reached for comment.
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