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Ex-minister Dlamini to be prosecuted for perjury

The charges relate to her testimony at an inquiry by the Constitutional Court in 2018 into a crisis over social-grant payments.
Image: Neil McCartney / Citizen

Bathabile Dlamini, a former South African social development minister and head of the ruling party’s powerful womens’ league, will be prosecuted for perjury in a move by prosecutors that will stoke political tension.

The charges relate to her testimony at a Constitutional Court inquiry in 2018 into a crisis over welfare-grant payments where a judge ruled that she’d lied under oath, the Centre for Applied legal Studies, which took part in the case, said in a statement on Tuesday. The Director of Public Prosecutions in the Gauteng province decided to prosecute her and a summons was issued for her to appear in the Johannesburg Regional Court on September 21, it said.

Dlamini joins former President Jacob Zuma and suspended African National Congress Secretary-General Ace Magashule as foes of President Cyril Ramaphosa who are embroiled in legal cases. Her trial could heighten divisions between Ramaphosa- and Zuma-aligned party factions ahead of its internal elections next year.

“There is no doubt they are going to say these are political machinations going into the elective conference,” said Ralph Mathekga, an independent political analyst. “The stakes are high, people are going to fight to the death because the alternative is going to jail.”

Ramaphosa, who took over as president when Zuma was compelled to resign in early 2018, has pledged to crack down on corruption. The government estimates that more than R500 billion ($33 billion) was stolen from state coffers during Zuma’s almost nine years in power.

Zuma, who denies wrongdoing, has been blamed for hollowing out South African institutions including the National Prosecuting Authority, resulting in few legal cases being brought against politically connected figures. Ramaphosa has made senior appointments in the NPA and tasked them with rebuilding the institution.

Dlamini in 2017 took responsibility for the welfare department’s failure to find a new service provider to handle South Africa’s about R150 billion in annual welfare payments, after the Constitutional Court ruled in 2014 that a contract with Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc. to handle the payouts was invalid. In 2018, she was ordered to personally pay part of the legal costs of the case.

Pule Mabe, the ANC’s spokesman, didn’t answer his mobile phone or respond to a text message seeking comment on her case.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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Best news of the day! This ANC Women’s League chairperson / former chairperson didn’t know , as many of her counterparts in Cabinet at the time, her proverbial … from her elbow but nevertheless raked in the dollars from the government ANC gravy train.
She should pay it all back!

In the book Pilgrimage of Faith, about Beyers Naude, he explained how he repeatedly tried to get representative religious institutions going, but how he was, time and time again, foiled by the fact that none of the participants were interested in doing anything really. They were only interested in getting a seat at the table, which would give them influence, that they would then use to get a share of the pot of donation-money. It often led to vicious under fighting as people clambered for the available positions, because that was seen as the only way to get to the riches. Nothing has changed in all the years. People are still clambering for positions, which is not filled to do anything worthwhile, but only to serve their own selfish purposes. As long as we don’t understand that we have to contribute something worthwhile in order to share in the money, we will be overrun by the Dlamini’s, of which there are too many.

Oh dear! Don’t raise your hopes. The time between a decision to prosecute and an actual conviction in this matter is likely to be years. In the unlikely event that there may be a conviction, a slap on the wrist and an ambassadorial (or similar) post are the probable outcomes. Where will SA find a judge or magistrate with enough courage to do the right thing?

End of comments.

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