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EXCLUSIVE: I am not bitter, says Bathabile Dlamini after Sassa debacle

Dlamini was accused of failing to ensure that Sassa was equipped to administer social grants payments after a contract with Cash Paymaster Services was due to expire.

Former minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said on Wednesday the way she was treated during the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) debacle has not left her bitter.

In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News, Dlamini likened the criticism she received to rape.

WATCH: EXCLUSIVE: Bathabile Dlamini says Sassa criticism felt like rape

Dlamini was accused of failing to ensure that Sassa was equipped to administer social grants payments after a contract with Cash Paymaster Services was due to expire.

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

“You know when you are undressed and raped? That is the feeling I had.”

This was how Dlamini described how she felt during the Sassa crisis. She said no one had ever been treated the way she was. “You go to the Constitutional Court and then again, you go to another extension of the court and you go to the integrity commission, but no one has ever faced that.”

But she said she didn't leave Parliament because she was bitter. “I’m a little bit angry about those who said I am bitter, because that is a very painful [thing to say].”

WATCH: EXCLUSIVE: Why Bathabile Dlamini resigned from Parliament

She said what made her wake up every day was the need to prove to young women that the resilient spirit of struggle stalwarts, like Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Albertina Sisulu was still alive.

REGRET NOT SUPPORTING OTHER WOMEN CONTESTING FOR LEADERSHIP ROLES

Dlamini said one of the lessons she learnt at the ANC's 2017 conference was to never give in to the temptation of supporting men for short-term agendas.

The former minister of Women in the Presidency revealed that women were used by men at the party's conference to further their agendas.

Dlamini's ANC Women’s League supported national executive committee (NEC) member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to be president but she lost to president Cyril Ramaphosa by a thin margin.

Speaking from her government-sponsored house in Pretoria, which she would soon move out of, Dlamini spoke about the lessons she learnt from the 2017 bruising Nasrec conference.

She was asked whether she was over the "betrayal" by ANC deputy president David Mabuza.

“I am over it now, because we must not allow temptations of supporting men because of short-term agendas.”

She said as the Women's League, they regret not supporting and uniting all women who were contesting the leadership positions, including the then-presidential contender Lindiwe Sisulu.

“I think where we faulted was when we did not call all women to come together. I think we made a mistake there because if you leave others out, men are going to grab them and use them.”

Sisulu was asked to partner with Ramaphosa's campaign and run as deputy president, but that was not successful.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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