Court finds ex-social development minister Dlamini guilty of perjury

Magistrate Betty Khumalo delivered her judgment, saying the State had successfully proven beyond reasonable doubt that the former minister had lied under oath during the proceedings at the inquiry into the Sassa grants debacle.

Former Social development minister Bathabile Dlamini at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 9 March 2022. Picture: Masechaba Sefularo/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - The Johannesburg Magistrates Court has on Wednesday found former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini guilty of perjury.

Magistrate Betty Khumalo delivered her judgment, saying the State had successfully proven beyond reasonable doubt that the former minister had lied under oath during the proceedings at the inquiry into the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grants debacle.

Sentencing proceedings are expected to continue following a lunch adjournment.

Dlamini previously pleaded not guilty to the charge and denied giving false information to the inquiry, saying that if she did, it was unintentional.

She denied that she appointed parallel work streams at the agency and that they reported to her.

The inquiry found she had concealed the extent of her involvement in the debacle and she was charged with perjury after the apex court forwarded the inquiry's report to the director of public prosecutions.

Magistrates Khumalo said: “It is this court’s view that the defence is merely grasping at straws here and playing with semantics. It is therefore this court’s view that the argument has no merit because all the evidence points to the minister having at least two to three meetings with the work streams, which would mean meetings with or of the work streams. I am therefore satisfied that the State has beyond reasonable doubt proved a case against the accused on the main count. The accused is accordingly found guilty of the charge in respect of the main charge of perjury.”