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Bathabile Dlamini conviction welcomed by Black Sash Trust legal representatives

Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has been found guilty of perjury by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court for lying under oath before the Constitutional Court and the inquiry into the social grants debacle. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has been found guilty of perjury by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court for lying under oath before the Constitutional Court and the inquiry into the social grants debacle. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Mar 10, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - The conviction of former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini on perjury charges highlights the duty placed on public officials to act ethically and in the public interest at all times.

This is according to Centre for Applied Legal Studies(CALS) attorney Ariella Scher after the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court found Dlamini guilty this week.

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The case relates to her testimony before an inquiry established by the Constitutional Court into her role in the social grants crisis several years ago.

“Even those occupying our highest offices must be held to account for their actions. Perjury is not a victimless crime, especially for sitting Cabinet ministers. In this case, Ms Dlamini’s dishonesty contributed to an ongoing crisis in the social grants system that threatened the millions of beneficiaries who rely on it every month,” said Scher.

Dlamini’s role in the social grants crisis in 2017 had come under the spotlight during the inquiry.

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During her stint, millions of beneficiaries were put at risk with no plan in place to continue paying grants when an invalid contract with Cash Paymaster Services came to an end.

CALS represented the Black Sash Trust at the inquiry and presented evidence that Dlamini had failed in her duties and had purposefully misled the court to avoid being held to account for these failures. Described as an evasive witness, she failed to disclose information to the court for fear of being held liable in her personal capacity.

“The Black Sash Trust and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies welcome the finding of the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court that former minister Bathabile Dlamini is guilty of perjury. In August 2021, CALS and the Black Sash Trust were informed that the director of public prosecutions in the Gauteng Local Division in Johannesburg had decided to prosecute Ms Dlamini for perjury and that her first court appearance would take place in the Johannesburg Regional Court within one month. We have learnt that Ms Dlamini has been found guilty by Magistrate Betty Khumalo.

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“Ms Khumalo found that the former minister had ’knowingly and intentionally disposed of false evidence’ and dismissed arguments by Ms Dlamini’s legal team that the section 38 inquiry did not constitute formal judicial proceedings,” said the organisation.

Dlamini could face imprisonment or a hefty fine.

The case was postponed to April for sentencing proceedings.

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Cape Times

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