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.
13 May 2021
Former Minister Bathabile Dlamini has paid costs awarded against her personally to Freedom Under Law (FUL), the Black Sash Trust and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS).
The costs are in relation to litigation over the illegal social grants crisis involving the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).
In February this year, the three organisations issued a joint statement expressing concern over Dlamini’s refusal to pay the legal costs awarded against her:
The payment by Dlamini vindicates the real reckoning that government leaders should be required to face when they fail to discharge their responsibilities, says Nicole Fritz, CEO of Freedom Under Law.
The joint statement by FUL, the Black Sash Trust and CALS can be downloaded here:
28 September 2018
Freedom Under Law (FUL) welcomes the judgment of the Constitutional Court delivered yesterday, ordering Minister Bathabile Dlamini to personally pay costs incurred by Black Sash and FUL in their litigation relating to the first extension of the Cash Paymaster Services contract for payment of social grants. The Court also ordered that a copy of the judgment and of the report issued by Judge Ngoepe as to Minister Dlamini’s personal liability for the social grants crisis be forwarded to the National Director of Public Prosecutions for determination as to whether Minister Dlamini should be prosecuted for perjury.
FUL believes the judgement to be an important vindication of accountability, sorely needed in the country at this time.
However, the judgement cannot stand on its own. FUL notes that the judgment envisages an important accountability role for the NDPP in this matter and recalls that another very recent Constitutional Court judgment ordered the President to appoint a new NDPP within 90 days. It is imperative that a new head of the NPA, able to restore credibility and integrity to the institution, be installed as quickly as possible not only so that the full measure of accountability might be secured in this matter but for so many other matters clamouring for accountability in the country today.