Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s perjury trial kicked off at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court, on Wednesday.
Bathabile Dlamini perjury trial: Here’s the States evidence
Dlamini will have to put up a convincing defence when she goes up against the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to clear her name from the accusation that she lied under oath.
Gauteng’s director of public prosecutions Advocate Andrew Chauke launched the criminal prosecution bid against Dlamini after an inquiry chaired by Judge President Bernard Ngoepe found that the former minister may have contravened section 38 (5)(b`) of the Superior Courts Act by lying under oath.
Dlamini had testified at the inquiry which sought to determine culpability in the 2017 SASSA crisis. At the time, the former minister was accused of gross negligence and withholding information from the Constitutional Court in the matter relating to the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) saga that almost destabilised South Africa’s social grants system.
A shoddy deal negotiated by SASSA and CPS, under the stewardship of Dlamini who headed the social development portfolio, would have cost the taxpayer R4.6 billion over a two-year period but after multiple challenges, the bid was rejected by the Constitutional Court.
Testifying under oath, Dlamini maintained she had no knowledge of the contractual merits SASSA had entered into with CPS, and therefore, refused to take accountability for the crisis that would have left millions of impoverished South Africans without social grant earnings.
“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,” the NPA noted.
How to watch trial live in South Africa
Dlamini’s perjury trial will be broadcast on national news channels. Before the trial commences, the former minister will granted an opportunity to state her plea.