Bathabile Dlamini perjury trial: First witness expected to testify

Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is accused of lying to an inquiry looking into the chaos of 2017 when there was no contract in place to take over the distribution of social grants.

Bathabile Dlamini appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on 24 November 2021. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The first witness in the perjury trial against former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is expected to testify on Thursday in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court.

Dlamini is accused of lying to an inquiry looking into the chaos of 2017 when there was no contract in place to take over the distribution of social grants.

On Wednesday, she pleaded not guilty.

READ: Bathabile Dlamini’s lawyers accuse State of being disingenuous in perjury case

The State asked that its first witness not testify in court on Wednesday as she had not been briefed.

The court had been told that the woman was present but when magistrate Betty Khumalo called her to the stand, she was nowhere to be found.

This led to Bathabile Dlamini's lawyers questioning the State's readiness for the trial.

"We had asked for a list of witnesses and we were told that everyone who made a statement at the inquiry is a potential witness, which of course is unacceptable but we accepted that. This morning again I said can you give me a list of witnesses so that we can prepare our cross-examination accordingly? We were not given that. But now I understand the reason is because they do not know who they are going to call," said the former minister’s lawyer Tshepiso Phahlane.

Dlamini has denied intentionally giving false information to the inquiry and stated that if she did, it was not intentional.

WATCH: Bathabile Dlamini pleads not guilty to perjury