The former Social Development Minister says she does not owe Sassa anything and is gearing up for a court battle
Durban – Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says she does owe the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and is gearing up for a court battle against Sassa.
In an attempt to recover more than R2 million from Dlamini and former chief executive Virginia Petersen, Sassa has approached the North Gauteng High Court, where it is also requesting the court to assist in recovering R1.4 million from Lumka Oliphant.
Sassa wants Dlamini, jointly with Petersen, to pay more than R2 million for costs incurred when they authorised procurement for emergency security protection services.
In an affidavit sent to Daily News by Dlamini’s attorney Tim Sukazi, Dlamini denies acting unlawfully.
“We were advised to make arrangements for security protection, while security analysis was being investigated by the police. To this end, it was important to act swiftly and especially having been given a go ahead by the police”.
Dlamini further explained that some officials were killed, as there were delays in providing protection, and while waiting for the security threat analysis report from the police.
“I respectfully admit that I acted lawfully by recommending that emergency close protection services be procured to the affected persons and, subsequently, to their children as they faced real threat”.
The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) president added in her affidavit that: “The police finally provided a report on the threat analysis, which also supported the procurement of the close protection services. I was shocked and surprised that my decision is now viewed as unlawful and susceptible to be reviewed and set aside, and I be liable for the expenses incurred by Sassa. This took place at the the time that I was Minister of Social Development.“
Dlamini’s lawyer Tim Sukazi said the former minister intends to defend herself against the suit brought against her by Sassa.
Both Petersen and Oliphant indicated that they have filed responding documents and their lawyers are handling the matter.
Oliphant indicated that all questions should be directed to Jabu Mabuza of Thando Mabuza Attorneys.
In a letter dated February 17, 2021, addressed to the Office of the State Attorney, Jonathan Mort Inc Attorneys, representing the political Office-Bearers Pension Fund, opposed the freezing attempts on Dlamini’s pension funds and intended to proceed with processing payment to Dlamini.
The letter went further to indicate that there is no legal basis to withhold Dlamini’s pension.
The statement was supported by the fund’s principal officer Belinda Burger, who replied to Daily News saying that her office was dealing with the matter and it would be resolved soon.
“The Fund is actively dealing with this matter and we expect that it will be resolved shortly – we would prefer not to comment any further on the matter at present, due to the sensitivity as well the personal information that cannot be disclosed”.
The Department of Justice revealed last week that Dlamini’s pension fund was being blocked on the Instruction of Sassa. The department shied away from giving reasons, citing that the matter was known to both parties.
This is not the first time Dlamini has been in hot water with the courts. Dlamini was ordered to pay 20% of the legal costs incurred, when she was found guilty for failure to appoint service providers to distribute social grants.
Dlamini has indicated that she is in no defiance of the court, however, she has no money to pay as her pension is being withheld.
Dlamini filed her answering affidavit on February 26, 2021.