Perjury trial against Bathabile Dlamini gets underway in Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court
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Durban - The trial against former minister at the Department of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, is expected to get underway in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
The charges relate to her testimony during an inquiry the Constitutional Court instituted into her role in the 2017 social grants crisis.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) explained that the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Gauteng Local Division, Advocate Andrew Chauke, took a decision to criminally prosecute Dlamini for perjury, alternatively, the Contravention of Section 38 (5)(b) the Superior Courts Act 10 of 2013 (lying under oath) in August 2021.
NPA spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, said the establishment of the inquiry that was chaired by former Judge President BM Ngoepe, stemmed from a Constitutional Court application brought by the Black Sash Trust, joined by Freedom Under Law over the South African Social Security Agency and Dlamini's failure as the Accounting Officer to appoint a service provider for the distribution of social grants.
“In September 2018, the Constitutional Court found that Dlamini not only failed in her duties as minister but also failed to disclose information to the inquiry for fear of being held liable for the 2017 crisis," Mjonondwane said.
She said subsequent to this ruling that ordered that its judgement, together with Judge Ngoepe’s inquiry report be forwarded to the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration of criminal liability, the NDPP directed that the matter be dealt with by the office of the DPP.
Dlamini made her first appearance on September 21, 2021 and the matter was postponed to October 1 for disclosure of the contents of the docket to her legal team.
She is expected to state her plea before the state calls its first witness.