24 August 2021
MEDIA STATEMENT BY FREEDOM UNDER LAW
Freedom Under Law welcomes the decision by the Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute former Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini for perjury or alternatively for giving false evidence. This is an important step in securing accountability in the long-running social grants crisis.
The charges relate to Ms Dlamini’s testimony provided before the Constitutional Court in connection with her personal involvement in the social grants crisis.
An application by Black Sash, in which FUL intervened, resulted in an exhaustive set of orders from the Court, among them that an inquiry be established to determine the Minister’s role and responsibility in the social grants crisis.
Following its consideration of the inquiry’s report, the Constitutional Court ordered that Ms Dlamini be held personally liable and that she herself pay a portion of the legal costs of the proceedings. It noted that the inquiry’s report suggested “very strongly that some of Minister Dlamini’s evidence under oath in the affidavits before this Court and orally before the Inquiry was false” and accordingly directed the registrar of the Court to forward a copy of the report to the National Director of Public Prosecutions.
The disclosure today of the decision to prosecute Ms Dlamini is an outcome of the Court’s direction. Important as it is, FUL maintains there is yet further accountability to be secured. While it was successful in its recent application to the Constitutional Court for an order to rerun the auditing and verification process of the profits earned by Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) in the unlawful social grants contract, that process has yet to be concluded.
FUL is hopeful that the conclusion of a proper auditing and verification process will ultimately result in an an order that those profits be repaid.