Citizen Reporter
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2 minute read
17 Dec 2021
1:16 pm

Court dismisses Bathabile Dlamini’s application to have perjury charges dropped

Citizen Reporter

Magistrate Betty Khumalo says 'there is evidence upon which the accused might be convicted'.

Former minister of Department of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini after her court appearance at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on24 November 2021. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The Johannesburg Magistrates Court has dismissed former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini’s application to have her perjury charges discharged.

Magistrate Betty Khumalo delivered her ruling on Friday morning.

“Having regard to the test to be applied, the applicable case law on point and in exercising my discretion, I am of the view that there is evidence upon which the accused might reasonably be convicted.

“Therefore, the application for a discharge at this stage is refused,” the judge said.

Trial to continue

The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) has since welcomed the ruling.

“We have always maintained that the accused has a case to answer [to],” NPA Gauteng spokesperson Phindile Mjonondwane told eNCA.

Mjonondwane said the case against Dlamini, who is ANC Women’s League president, will continue as the state is expected to cross-examine the defence’s witness.

“We will [then] be guided by the defence as to whether or not they have more witness or they wish to close their case,” she added.

ALSO READ: Perjury conviction could ruin Dlamini’s travel plans for next 10 years

Carl Niehaus, spokesperson for the disbanded uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Association (MKMVA), and former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo were present in court to support Dlamini.

Niehaus said the case had been “dragging for a long time” and was politically motivated.

“One wonders why it is necessary for a matter to drag on in the way that it does,” he said.

Last month, Dlamini pleaded not guilty to perjury accusations relating to the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) 2017 crisis.

Background

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.

The case stems from an application brought forward by Black Sash and Freedom Under Law (FUL) in a bid to hold Dlamini accountablefor role in the matter.

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).

READ MORE: Bathabile Dlamini pays up for social grants crisis

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.