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Bathabile Dlamini to learn fate over social grant payments crisis

The Constitutional Court will on Thursday morning make a ruling on whether former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini will be held personally responsible for the social grants saga.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court will on Thursday morning make a ruling on whether former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini will be held personally responsible for the social grants saga.

Human rights group Black Sash wants Dlamini to pay the legal costs out of her own pocket, arguing that she acted unreasonably and negligently in handling the crisis.

The South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) five-year contract with Cash Paymaster Services was declared invalid by the same apex court in 2014.

This led to Sassa frequently approaching the court to ask for an extension of the contract, so that it can continue to pay social grants.

As the then-Minister of Social Development, the court said Dlamini was responsible to ensure Sassa fulfils its function.

Nicole Fritz, the chief executive officer of Freedom Under Law, explains the importance of Thursday’s ruling.

“It’s not just that she in her official capacity who should be liable, which would be the state pays but, she [Dlamini] personally be held liable. This is fairly extraordinary; the court only makes such orders in cases where they find that the officials have acted in bad faith or with gross negligence,” says Fritz.

The Post Office takes over the payment of grants from 1 October.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)