Bathabile Dlamini's financial woes following Concourt ruling

2018-09-30 14:00
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is interviewed regarding the Sassa crisis. (Leon Sadiki, Gallo Images, City Press, file)

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is interviewed regarding the Sassa crisis. (Leon Sadiki, Gallo Images, City Press, file)

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Minister for Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini declared only a stock portfolio of R21 081, and part of a property in the latest register of members interests – which is not nearly enough to cover her hundreds of thousands in legal costs, Rapport reported.

According to the Sunday paper, she has R7400 in Telkom and Vodacom shares and an investment at Sanlam. She declared only one house in Pietermaritzburg, but according to information at the deeds office she owns two. She bought one with her husband in 1994 for R162 000 and there is still a bond registered on it, and the other in 2010 for R715 000.

On Thursday News24 reported that the Constitutional Court ruled that former social development minister is personally liable for 20% of costs of last year's SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) debacle.

The court also found that the National Prosecuting Authority should determine whether Dlamini should be prosecuted for perjury.

An inquiry was instituted in 2017 to investigate whether Dlamini should be held personally liable for the costs. Judge Bernard Ngoepe, who chaired the inquiry, criticised the minister in a report he had compiled.

The inquiry probed whether Dlamini had sought the appointment of individuals to lead the various work streams, which would report directly to her.

The inquiry also looked into why the minister did not disclose this information to the court that dealt with the matter.

No stone unturned

City Press reported on Sunday that Freedom Under Law chairperson and retired judge Johann Kriegler had said they would leave no stone unturned in their efforts to recover money from Dlamini. 

Kriegler said that if Dlamini doesn't pay for every cent that she is responsible for,  they will get a court order and ensure her fixed assets are seized and sold in execution. 

If her assets are not enough to cover her legal costs and she is declared insolvent as a result, she would also lose her job, as the Constitution stipulates that unrehabilitated insolvents cannot serve as members of Parliament. 

The Sassa case, which was brought by non-governmental organisations Black Sash and FUL, has been ongoing for several years.

In 2014, the court ruled that the contract Sassa had signed with social grants distributor Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), two years prior, was illegal and invalid.

Sassa later returned to court because it was concerned that it would not be able to distribute cash payments to grant recipients because its new distributor, the SA Post Office, was not able to do so.

Around 2.8 million beneficiaries – roughly 26% of the scheme – receive their grants in cash.

Earlier this year, the court gave CPS another six months to pay beneficiaries who received their grants in cash.

Opposition calls 

On Friday, News24 reported that the DA is planning to lay charges of perjury against Dlamini, and the IFP has asked Parliament's Speaker Baleka Mbete to establish an ad hoc committee to probe the Sassa, CPS tender scandal and to look into Dlamini's fitness to hold office as allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering pertaining to the CPS tender emerged.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has also written to President Cyril Ramaphosa asking that he fire Dlamini, as well as Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, after the Supreme Court of Appeals had found he had also lied to the court.  

The SCA upheld a North Gauteng High court decision made in December which found Gigaba had "deliberately told untruths under oath" in a court battle between Fireblade Aviation, owned by the wealthy Oppenheimer family, and the Department of Home Affairs and others. 

Read more on:    sassa  |  cps  |  bathabile dlamini

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