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NDPP ordered to determine if Bathabile Dlamini to face prosecution for perjury

The Constitutional Court has ordered former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to pay 20% of Black Sash and Freedom Under Law's legal costs.

FILE: Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court has ordered former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to personally pay 20% for legal costs incurred in the social grants saga.

This is the first time that a Cabinet minister is being held responsible personally for creating the social grants crisis.

The judgment has also ordered the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to determine whether Dlamini should be charged for perjury for lying under oath about her role in the crisis.

The Apex Court ruled in 2014 that the contract between the South African Social Security Agency and Cash Paymaster Services was illegal, giving a March deadline for a new service provider to be found.

That was extended for another six months.

In March last year, the ConCourt ordered Dlamini to explain why she shouldn't be held personally liable for those legal costs.

Justice Johan Froneman handed down the unanimous judgment on Thursday.

“She allowed a parallel process to occur knowing that she withheld information that might lead to her being held personally responsible for the social grants disaster.”

Froneman found that Dlamini did not act in good faith.

He says, at best, her conduct was reckless and grossly negligent.

“This conclusion is a serious and sad one, especially in the context of the provision of social grants to the most needy in our society. But if it’s not to happen again, consequences must follow.”

The exact amount of legal fees incurred by the Black Sash and Freedom Under Law - who brought the matter to court - will only be determined later, but it’s believed she may have to fork out hundreds of thousands of rands.

The court has now ordered that copies of the inquiry's judgment be sent to the NPA to determine whether she should be charged for perjury because she lied under oath.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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