Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has said that former minister of social development, Bathabile Dlamini, still has a case to answer - despite being exonerated in a Public Protector report that says she did not wilfully mislead parliament. 

"Despite the outcomes of this report, the DA still holds the view that Bathabile Dlamini must be held to account for putting the livelihoods of millions of South Africans at risk and plunging the country to the brink of a complete crisis," said DA shadow minister of social development, Bridget Masango, on Wednesday. 

The DA referred the former minister to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane after Dlamini said that Sassa would be ready to institutionalise the distribution of social grants by April 1 2017.

Less than a year later, SASSA officials informed parliament’s social development committee that SASSA had failed to procure an alternative service provider to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). 

Mkhwebane found in her report, made public on Wednesday, that based on information and evidence made available to her office for the investigation, she "could not make any finding on the allegation that [Dlamini] deliberately misled the National Assembly or contravened the Executive Ethics Code".

But Masango, who laid the complaint with the public protector, said Dlamini still had a lot to answer for. 

This included charges of perjury being laid against the former minister in October 2018, and criminal charges laid this year after Dlamini claimed she was  aware of wives of ANC members who were allegedly involved in dubious relationships with CPS. 

"Dlamini is notoriously loath to appear before parliament, whether it be oral question sessions or committee meetings, with the Portfolio Committee on Social Development having to consider issuing a summons to have her appear," said Masango. 

"Dlamini failed dismally in her role at the head of Social Development as well as the women of South Africa and she must have her day in court. We will be studying the contents of the report and consult with our lawyers on the merits thereof," said Masango.

African News Agency (ANA)