Accountability monitor: Bathabile Dlamini’s date with the law

It turns out politicians can’t lie and get away with it – at least, not when they’ve been fibbing under oath. 

Remember former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini? She’s the one who nearly scuppered our precious social grant system in 2017 thanks to a dubious contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). 

In the legal drama that unfolded around that crisis, Dlamini seemed to have made a habit of lying. 

Judge Bernard Ngoepe, who chaired an inquiry into the crisis, criticised Dlamini for submitting false evidence under oath in both affidavits and oral testimony. She would also conveniently forget key issues related to her department’s work. 

This week she was formally charged by the state with perjury committed during the inquiry. It’s been a good few years since Ngoepe made his findings, but justice is finally happening. She will appear on 21 September at the Johannesburg Regional Court. It was a bad week for Dlamini, who is the chairperson of the ANC Women’s League, on the health front, too. The party announced on Tuesday that she’d been hospitalised for Covid-19 treatment. We wish her a speedy and full recovery.

Back to the legal issue: Dlamini joins the likes of Malusi Gigaba, who resigned as home affairs minister in 2018, shortly after being found guilty of perjury. He lied under oath about allowing a company owned by the billionaire Oppenheimer family to operate a private immigration terminal at OR Tambo International Airport. 

This isn’t the first time Dlamini is facing accountability. She previously had to personally pay for 20% of Freedom Under Law and The Black Sash’s legal costs after they hauled her to court to end the CPS contract. The years of impunity are coming to an end. 💪

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 26 August 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.