The perjury trial against former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has been remanded until tomorrow (25 November 2021).
This comes after the state applied for a postponement after arguing that its witnesses had not been fully consulted.
During proceedings in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning, the state explained that it had intended to bring two witnesses – Zodwa Mvulane and Thokozani Magwaza – to the stand. However, the witnesses were not consulted.
“We submit that it would be unfair to put a witness in the box without having consulted with them. We wish to be given a chance so that we can consult in this matter,” advocate Jacob Serepo, who represents National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), told the court.
Magistrate Betty Khumalo adjourned the trial for Thursday.
Dlamini earlier pleaded not guilty to perjury accusations relating to the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) 2017 crisis.
The former minister is facing charges related to her testimony during an inquiry ordered by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) with regards to her role in the social grants crisis of 2017.
An inquiry was instituted in 2018 by the ConCourt over an unlawful contract between the Sassa and its former grants distributor, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).
The inquiry, which was chaired by Judge Bernard Ngoepe, found that Dlamini not only failed in her duties as minister, but also failed to disclose information to the inquiry for fear of being held liable for the 2017 crisis.
The former minister was also ordered to pay litigation fees as well.
Dlamini made her first appearance on 21 September and the matter was postponed to 1 October for disclosure of the contents of the docket to her legal team.
During her previous appearance, Dlamini’s attorney Tshepiso Mphahlane accused the state of targeting her client because she had been a politician.