Dlamini described as ‘obstructive & evasive’ witness in Sassa inquiry

The South African Social Security Agency inquiry - which is investigating Bathabile Dlamini's role in the social grants crisis - is hearing closing arguments in Midrand.

A screengrab of Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has been described as an evasive and deliberately obstructive witness who’s refused to answer critical questions.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) inquiry - which is investigating Dlamini's role in the social grants crisis - is hearing closing arguments at the office of the chief justice in Midrand.

Legal counsels have argued that the minister should be held personally liable for the social security agency missing the April 2017 deadline.

Dlamini’s evidence has been rejected by the legal counsels who’ve also accused the former Social Development Minister of lying under oath.

The Black Sash Trust's Advocate Geoff Budlender says Dlamini deliberately avoided answering important questions related to the running of the department's controversial work streams.

“Where does one take it? What does one say about a witness who is repeatedly obstructive and evasive, refuses to answer questions, ducks the questions?”

The legal counsels say unlike former Sassa top officials Zane Dangor and Thokozani Magwaza, whose versions were clear and forthcoming, Dlamini's testimony contained many smoking guns.

The minister has been described as an embarrassingly poor witness.