ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) president and former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has been sentenced to four years in prison or a R200 000 fine.
Dlamini appeared before Magistrate Betty Khumalo on Friday at the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court after she was found guilty of perjury by the same court in March.
READ: Bathabile Dlamini guilty of perjury, court rules
Khumalo found Dlamini guilty of lying under oath during a 2017 inquiry into the social grants debacle at the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) that saw millions of grant beneficiaries unsure if they would receive their money.
RT @BongeMacupe: pic.twitter.com/yoljkQZVce.#CityPress— City Press (@City_Press) April 1, 2022
Dlamini was accused of failing to ensure that Sassa was equipped to administer social grants after a contract with Cash Paymaster Services, which was responsible for disbursing grants, was due to expire.
Khumalo said Dlamini gave false evidence regarding her knowledge of and involvement in Sassa operations.
The magistrate said two years of the four would be suspended from Dlamini’s sentence, as would R100 000 from the fine.
After the sentencing, a few members of the ANCWL who had come to support Dlamini were seen crying, while others were heard saying: “It is done!”
RT @BongeMacupe: A #HandsOff banner outside the court. Supporters of Bathabile Dlamini have not stopped singing as they wait for their president who has not yet come out of the court pic.twitter.com/847UNWx0HP.— City Press (@City_Press) April 1, 2022
Her supporters included former Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association spokesperson Carl Niehaus and former ANC North West chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, as well as former president Jacob Zuma’s daughter Thuthukile Zuma.
Dlamini’s lawyer, Tshepiso Mphahlane, requested that Dlamini pay the fine at the end of April. He said it was “impossible” to pay the full amount on Friday.
However, the state said Dlamini should at least pay a certain percentage of the money on Friday.
READ: OPINION | Phillip de Wet: Bathabile Dlamini was always an unbelievably bad liar
Mphahlane asked for a brief break to consult his client on whether she would be able to pay the fine on the day.
Dlamini was seen during the break consulting with her supporters, including Mahumapelo.
After the break, Mphahlane said Dlamini would be able to pay 20% of the fine (R20 000) on Friday, and the rest would be paid by April 29.
The state did not object to this.
Mphahlane then requested that Dlamini not to be jailed and that she remain on warning until she pays the rest of the fine.
Khumalo asked what should happen if Dlamini does not pay the rest of the fine by April 29.
RT @BongeMacupe: Jubilation as Dlamini finally comes out of court pic.twitter.com/1mnKomCxa9.#CityPress— City Press (@City_Press) April 1, 2022
Mphahlane said the law should take its course.
Khumalo ruled that if the money is not paid by that date, the law would indeed take its course.
After making that ruling, suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule arrived in court to loud cheers of “Ace! Ace!” from those in the gallery. He walked in with former #FeesMustFall activist, Bonginkosi Khanyile.
While delivering her sentence, Khumalo said Dlamini held an important position in society while she was minister of social development and that thousands of social grant beneficiaries looked up to her.
She also said Dlamini had not showed remorse for her actions.
This is a developing story.