Bathabile Dlamini ruling ‘a victory for the South African public’‚ says Black Sash Trust
Civil society organisations have welcomed the Constitutional Court judgment ordering former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini to pay 20% of the legal costs incurred in the social grants debacle.
On Thursday the highest court in the land directed Dlamini to pay 20% of the legal costs of the Black Sash Trust and Freedom Under Law‚ including costs of two counsels.
The court also ordered that the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) decide on whether she should be prosecuted and charged with perjury for lying under oath.
Dlamini was found to have lied to the court about hiring work streams to deal with the grants crisis that reported directly to her.
Retired judge Bernard Ngoepe‚ who was appointed to chair an inquiry into Dlamini’s role in the grants crisis‚ found that the former social development minister had lied under oath in her affidavit which she filed at the Constitutional Court and when she gave oral evidence in the inquiry.
The Black Sash rights group approached the court after Sassa acknowledged it would not be able to pay millions of social grants from April 1 2017‚ despite promising the court in November 2015 it would do so.
In a joint statement with the Centre for Applied Legal Services (CALS)‚ the Black Sash Trust welcomed the Constitutional Court judgment.
“This is a victory for the South African public‚” said Lynette Maart‚ the national director of the Black Sash Trust.
“The judgment sets an important precedent for holding public officials accountable for their reckless and negligent actions in executing their duties‚” CALS acting deputy director Wandisa Phama said.
“This is a step towards ensuring that a similar crisis never happens again‚” she added.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) also welcomed the judgment‚ saying it was high time Dlamini was held to account.
“It is about time that we see this kind of ruling to hold corrupt public officials to account for their unsavoury actions. This is a victory for those who depend on social grants and for those who have fought tirelessly for Bathabile Dlamini to answer for her irrational actions‚” said Dominique Msibi‚ Outa’s portfolio manager for special projects.