ConCourt to rule on whether Dlamini must pay costs in social grants saga

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini submitted an affidavit to the court stating she shouldn’t be held personally liable for the payment debacle.

FILE: Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court will rule on Thursday whether Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is personally liable for legal costs incurred in the social grants matter.

In March, the court ruled that service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) must continue paying social grants for the next 12 months, as South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) had not come up with an alternative payment solution.

Dlamini submitted an affidavit to the court stating she shouldn’t be held personally liable for the payment debacle.

Dlamini will find out on Thursday if she is personally liable for the legal costs, claiming in her affidavit that it is not commonplace that a court would sanction a public official in cases where an adverse finding in litigation is made against a particular department which that official represents.

The Constitutional Court, however, criticised Dlamini’s conduct in the matter, saying the grant issue could have been resolved months ago.

Dlamini says, in hindsight, she realises that she ought to have demanded greater accountability from Sassa officials and more frequent updates from them about the progress of the plan to pay social grants come 1 April.

The minister has also largely blamed Sassa officials and in particular Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza for leaving her in the dark about the payment issue.

Magwaza hit back by submitting his own affidavit disputing Dlamini’s version of events.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)