We are still waiting for the president to act on Bathabile Dlamini

09 October 2018 - 07:58
By Palesa Lebitse
Bathabile Dlamini
Image: Veli Nhlapo/Sowetan. Bathabile Dlamini

Can President Cyril Ramaphosa at the very least say something on calls to axe minister for women in the presidency Bathabile Dlamini? Can he also say something on finance minister Nhlanhla Nene who finds himself beset with challenges?

The pressure continues to mount from all spheres calling for the pair's resignation, as well as home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba.

Instead, Ramaphosa continues to remain silent despite a recent report suggesting that the president was given a deadline until last week Friday to "remove Dlamini or face legal action".

Further reports reveal that opposition parties have vowed to increase the pressure, however, this has not deterred the president.

This is also despite the fact that Dlamini's commitment to public service and ethical behaviour in the office that she occupied was questioned by the Constitutional Court. An unanimous judgment found Dlamini may have lied under oath before both the apex court and the inquiry into whether she should be held personally liable for legal costs.

The ConCourt furthermore directed the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to decide if Dlamini should be prosecuted for perjury. In a damning judgment, justice Froneman said that retired judge Bernard Ngoepe's report "revealed that the minister misled the court to protect herself from the consequences of her behaviour".

Yet, we are still waiting for Ramaphosa to act. We are waiting to see Ramaphosa's "new dawn", which promised a clean and honourable government that will have zero tolerance for fraud and corruption.

At best, Ramaphosa may just be a patient man, but I seriously doubt it. At worst, his promise of a new dawn is nothing but a lie. His administration may, in fact, be similar to that of his predecessor, which was known as a party-first-and-country-last kind of administration.

Interestingly, the ANC Women's League has not said a word on the ConCourt judgment that questioned its president's unethical behaviour, among other things.

Previously, I wrote that the organisation demonstrated its foolishness when it failed to grasp a simple judgment and continues in its failure to concern itself with the emancipation of women. A few weeks ago, the league completely misread and misunderstood the Constitutional Court judgment, which found that Dlamini did not act in bad faith when seeking an extension of an unlawful contract.

Secretary-general Meokgo Matuba foolishly said that "the ruling has silenced many detractors and hellbent haters of comrade Bathabile".

She encouraged Dlamini to "continue with her sterling job of championing the socioeconomic development of women in the country". She was, however, completely wrong, because the court in that matter had to merely determine whether then SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) CEO Pearl Bhengu and Dlamini had acted in bad faith or were grossly negligent when they approached the ConCourt on an urgent basis, seeking an extension of the invalid grant payments contract between Sassa and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) for six months.

Fundamentally, Matuba's assertions demonstrated the league's commitment to the ruling party's tacit policy that the ANC comes first, before the welfare of the state.

This is demonstrated in the failure to acknowledge its leader's unlawful dealings with CPS as unacceptable and that the crisis still faced by Sassa is due to poor leadership by the then ministry. The women's league should be developing coherent policies and programmes for women's empowerment.