Friday, 1 April 2022 Nobody can be pleased to see a once powerful person humbled. But Freedom Under Law is gratified that its ongoing battle to clean up the mess at SASSA has borne some fruit. More importantly, today’s sentencing of former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, convicted of the crime of perjury, demonstrates that our justice system is capable of dealing fittingly with criminality in high places.
The sentence underlines the seriousness of the offence of which she was convicted. Essentially, perjury is lying to a court. That she, a minister, was untruthful was all the more deplorable. Had she succeeded in her dishonesty, and prevented the Constitutional Court from effectively resolving the social grants crisis, beneficiaries would have been even more vulnerable. Moreover, the elaborate and complex Court process would have been wasted — at taxpayers’ expense.
We can only trust today’s proceedings mark the end of this sordid saga.
Johannesburg, 31 March 2022 –Tomorrow Judith February takes over at Freedom Under Law as its new Executive Officer.
A lawyer and a respected governance specialist and analyst, she is well-known as a media columnist on politics and democracy in South Africa.
FUL Chair Judge Johann Kriegler says: “FUL spent many months searching for a successor for Nicole Fritz, who was hard to replace. Our efforts have been rewarded: Judith February is exactly what we need. She joins us at a time when the Rule of Law is under unprecedented attack. Judith knows what this entails, and we’re glad to have her on board.”
Judith February herself comments that “South Africa is at a defining moment for the Rule of Law. I look forward to the challenges FUL faces at this time and am certain that we will be able to contribute to further entrenching the culture of constitutionalism in our country.”
Like all in South Africa, Freedom Under Law mourns the loss of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. His contributions to the life of our democracy – including having served on FUL’s advisory board – are legion. But it was his steadfast example of resistance to injustice, of solidarity with those most vulnerable, of love and compassion for all people, that will forever serve to remind us of what our democratic republic must aspire to and be. And so while we mourn the loss of this outstanding life we will seek to cherish and honour the remarkable legacy he leaves.
Hamba Kahle, Arch!