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EXCLUSIVE: Sassa debacle criticism felt like rape - Bathabile Dlamini

When former Minister Bathabile Dlamini spoke about her time as social development minister and the criticism she faced, she became emotional.

Former cabinet minister Bathabile Dlamini chats to EWN a day after she resigned as a member of Parliament. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former minister Bathabile Dlamini has compared how she felt during the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) crisis to being publicly undressed and raped.

In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News on Wednesday, Dlamini - who resigned from Parliament on Tuesday - opened up about her time as social development minister.

While heading up that department, she was accused of failing to ensure that Sassa was fully equipped to administer social grants as the expiration date of the contract with Cash Paymaster Services drew nearer.

The court was forced to extend the contract‚ even after it had been found to be illegal.

The Constitutional Court found she was reckless and grossly negligent for failing to disclose information before an inquiry into her role in the social grants debacle.

A calm Dlamini sat down with EWN at her government-sponsored home in Pretoria, which she was in the process of moving out of.

When she spoke about her time as social development minister and the criticism she faced, she became emotional.

“I feel like I was… you know when you’re undressed and raped? That is the feeling I had.”

But did she take any accountability for the Sassa debacle?

“Yes, I regret what happened but also, you want human beings to be fair and not connive against an individual.”

She said that situation taught her a big lesson.

“A huge lesson that patriarchy comes up in many ways," she said.

Dlamini said she still wanted to lay a complaint with the African National Congress about how she was treated even by her colleagues in government, saying it would help her heal and move on with her life.

Earlier in the interview Dlamini spoke about how she had resigned from Parliament because she needed the ministerial pension benefits to take care of her family.

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