Hawks close in on Bathabile Dlamini lies probe

Constitutional Court ordered NPA to consider perjury charges against her

25 November 2018 - 00:03 By QAANITAH HUNTER

Bathabile Dlamini might have survived this week's cabinet reshuffle but she could soon face criminal charges related to a Constitutional Court finding that she may have lied under oath.
The Hawks confirmed to the Sunday Times that they were circling the minister of women and children - and vowed not to give her special treatment.
Hawks Gauteng head Prince Mokotedi said he was waiting for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to give the go-ahead on how to proceed.
"We had a meeting with the prosecution team about two weeks ago. They said they will do their work and come back to us whether there are reasonable grounds for a criminal prosecution or not. They haven't come back to us."
Mokotedi said he was not afraid of investigating a minister, saying "we will investigate without fear or favour".
The NPA said on Friday that the matter is with the Hawks for investigation.
Should the NPA decide to charge Dlamini, it would allow President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action against her.
The Constitutional Court directed the NPA to make a determination on whether Dlamini should face perjury charges related to her testimony in court and before the Ngoepe inquiry into last year's social grants crisis.
Last year, the court suggested "very strongly" that Dlamini's evidence and affidavits, when she was minister of social development, were lies.
The registrar of the Constitutional Court was told to send a copy of the judgment and the report of the inquiry to the national director of public prosecutions "to consider whether minister Dlamini lied under oath and, if so, whether she should be prosecuted for perjury". The order was made on September 27.
When the case was heard last year, chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng questioned Dlamini's competence. He asked her lawyer: "How do you get to the level where your clients make themselves look like they are incompetent?"
There is public pressure on Ramaphosa to remove Dlamini.
The Sunday Times can reveal that on Tuesday in Cape Town, Ramaphosa told a meeting of his core advisers, including senior ANC leaders and his advisers outside party structures, that he did not want to be seen as purging Dlamini.
Sources close to the president said Ramaphosa was cautious of murmurs by Jacob Zuma that the president was purging all those who were close to him (Zuma).
"He [Zuma] has been saying this thing privately. Especially after [Sars commissioner] Tom Moyane was fired. We were avoiding Zuma going public to say we are purging those who were close to him," a source said.
The source said during discussions on the reshuffle that Ramaphosa's allies had warned him not to provoke his political enemies and wait for "the court to deal with Dlamini the way it dealt with ... Gigaba".
Ramaphosa on Thursday appointed Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams as minister of communication and telecommunications and postal services. Siyabonga Cwele was moved to home affairs and Nomvula Mokonyane to the department of environmental affairs.
A second source confirmed that Dlamini had been discussed.
"We said, let's wait for the processes to unfold and she will be in a position that Gigaba was in where she will have no choice but to resign," the second source said.
Dlamini's possible axing was first discussed this month on the sidelines of the ANC national executive meeting but the party's top six did not agree on the matter.
Asked to comment on the investigation against her, Dlamini refused to comment...

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