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Inquiry: Argument of 'evasive' Dlamini is unconvincing & should be rejected

In a report to the Constitutional Court, judge Bernard Ngoepe says her answers before the inquiry were less than satisfactory.

FILE: Former Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - An inquiry into former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s handling of the process to insource grant payments has labelled her an evasive witness.

In a report to the Constitutional Court, judge Bernard Ngoepe says her answers before the inquiry were less than satisfactory.

Ngoepe concludes the reason Dlamini evaded the questions was to avoid the finding that she appointed controversial workstreams to come up with a plan to insource grant payments and that they reported directly to her.

Ngoepe says Dlamini was not only evasive but answered questions with questions. He says she also gave long answers that did not answer the question.

But Ngoepe says it’s clear Dlamini gave an order to set up workstreams that reported directly to her and bypassed Sassa’s executive committee.

Asked why she did not report the appointment of the workstreams to the Constitutional Court, Dlamini told the inquiry she did not interpret the court’s request as requiring her to do so.

But Ngoepe says her argument is unconvincing and should be rejected.

It will now be up to the Constitutional Court to decide whether she should be held personally liable for the grants debacle and whether she should also pay legal costs.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)