Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has been found guilty of perjury by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court for lying under oath before the Constitutional Court and the inquiry into the social grants debacle.
JOHANNESBURG – Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has been found guilty of perjury by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court for lying under oath before the Constitutional Court and the inquiry into the social grants debacle.
Magistrate Betty Khumalo on Wednesday convicted the ANC Women’s League president for lying under oath in affidavits filed at the apex court and the inquiry that the country’s highest court ordered, which was chaired by retired Gauteng High Court Judge President Bernard Ngoepe.
”I am satisfied that the accused (Dlamini) did (commit perjury), in her written statement, that I find does qualify as an affidavit as indicated above. Secondly, that she testified and gave false evidence at the section 38 inquiry in that she gave out that the work streams did not report directly to her and that she did not meet with them for them to give her direct reporting. It is my finding that she did, in both instances,” Magistrate Betty Khumalo found.
In addition, the magistrate said the inquiry by Judge Ngoepe amounted to judicial proceedings.
Khumalo said the State had succeeded in proving the main count of perjury as Dlamini had unlawfully and intentionally deposed false evidence on her attendance of meetings of the work streams.
She added that Dlamini had attended at least two to three meetings of the work streams, which were established to ensure that the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) could take over paying social grants in-house after the Constitutional Court had declared its contract with Cash Paymaster Services to distribute grants invalid.
”The accused is found guilty as charged,” Khumalo ruled.
Dlamini, in the alternative, was charged with contravening section 38 of the Superior Courts Act, which states that the Constitutional Court can refer any person, who after taking an oath or making an affirmation, knowingly or unknowingly gives false evidence and that he or she is guilty of perjury and liable upon conviction to the penalties prescribed by the law of perjury.
Prosecutor Jacob Serepo told Khumalo that Dlamini had a previous fraud conviction after she entered into a plea bargain with the National Prosecuting Authority following her conviction along with 13 other MPs in Parliament’s travelgate scandal in 2006.
Dlamini was fined R120,000 or five years’ imprisonment and a further five years’ imprisonment suspended conditionally for five years for defrauding Parliament of R254,000 in service benefits and/or mileage claims.
Khumalo did not immediately send Dlamini to the court’s holding cells after convicting her, and instead extended the warning against her.
– Political Bureau