Home South African NPA wants imprisonment or hefty fine for Bathabile Dlamini after perjury conviction

NPA wants imprisonment or hefty fine for Bathabile Dlamini after perjury conviction

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Former Cabinet minister’s defence informs court that she could soon lose R70,000 a month she receives as ANC Women’s League president and depends on a R40,000 monthly pension.

Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has been found guilty of perjury. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

THE NATIONAL Prosecuting Authority has asked the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court to jail ANC Women’s League president and former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini, or hand her a hefty fine for lying under oath.

Dlamini was on Wednesday convicted of perjury by Magistrate Betty Khumalo for lying under oath in affidavits filed at the Constitutional Court during an inquiry instituted by the Constitutional Court into the 2017 social grants debacle at the South African Social Security Agency.

”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.

The inquiry was established after Dlamini contravened section 38 of the Superior Courts Act, which states that the apex 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 according to the penalties prescribed by the law of perjury.

Dlamini’s advocate Tshepiso Mphahlane told the court that his client received R40,000 a month from her pension as a former MP.

Prosecutor Matthews Rampyapedi called for the court to hand Dlamini a hefty fine should it feel direct imprisonment was too harsh, but added that direct imprisonment would not be inappropriate in this case.

“At the centre of this offence is dishonesty with a capital D. At the pinnacle of this offence is accountability. We expect a certain standard of accountability from public servants. Accountability, accountability. This is what we want from our public servants,” he said.

Rampyapedi said Dlamini’s offence was not a trivial one, especially when considering the position she held at the time, the minister of social development. Her department was supposed to take care of the impoverished and downtrodden.

“It is therefore imperative that the community out there should see the justice system in action. The perception that the law protects the rich, the politically connected, should find its way out of the justice system,” he added.

According to Mphahlane, as ANCWL president Dlamini was paid R70,000 a month, but he pointed out that this was not a permanent position but a five-year term that had already come to an end and that the league’s next conference was planned for June this year.

”She may or may not be re-elected. In determining her actual income to be considered by this court, I would submit the court considers R40,000,” he said.

He said the R70,000 she received from the ANCWL was attached to the position she was about to vacate. Dlamini, Mphahlane said, used the R40,000 to maintain herself as well as her household as she was a single parent.

She also paid university tuition fees for her two daughters who were aged 19 and 26, as well as assisting with tuition for her niece who was also at a higher education institution.

Mphahlane maintained that Dlamini had not benefited from the transgression, and that the Constitutional Court had already ordered her to pay part of the costs of the litigation, which was substantial money.

He said a fine would be the most appropriate sentence, and that due to her financial obligations it would be appropriate for Khumalo to suspend the payment for a period of time.

Khumalo adjourned the case to April 1 for sentencing, stating that she needed time to consider the submissions, both in mitigation and aggravation of sentence.

Dlamini is out on warning and was told that failure to appear would result in a warrant of arrest being issued against her.

Political Bureau

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