By Jonk wa Mashamba
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the Gauteng Local Division, Adv. Andrew Chauke welcomes the verdict by the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court that found former Minister of the Department of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini guilty of perjury.
Dlamini was charged with perjury, alternatively, the Contravention of Section 38 (5)(b) the Superior Courts Act 10 of 2013 (lying under oath).
According to Phindi Mjonondwane,
Regional Spokesperson for NPA, the charges relate to her testimony during an inquiry established by the Constitutional Court into her role in the 2017 social grants crisis.
“The inquiry that was chaired by former Judge President B.M Ngoepe, stemmed from a Constitutional Court application brought by Black Sash Trust, joined by Freedom Under Law over the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and Dlamini’s failure as the Executive Officer, to appoint a service provider for the distribution of social grants.
“The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Deputy of Public Prosecutions Adv. Jacob Serepo, working closely with Captain Tlou Martin Nailana and Sergeant Deon Mbhalati of the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation Unit, submitted evidence in the form of the prescribed record of proceedings of the Ngoepe Commission and thereafter called former SASSA CEO, Thokozani Magwaza to corroborate what was contained in the record,” said Mjonondwane.
The court found his evidence to be truthful and reliable and that it was not rebutted by the defence.
Dlamini elected not to testify in her defense, but opted to call the former project leader at SASSA, Ms Zodwa Mvulane, who, according to Magistrate Betty Khumalo, conceded during her testimony that there were contradictions between her evidence in court and the statement by Dlamini at the inquiry.
Magistrate Khumalo further stated that Mvulane conceded that Dlamini lied during her testimony at the Ngoepe Commission.
After delivering the judgment, the court was presented with Dlamini’s previous conviction of fraud that was delivered by the Western Cape High Court in 2003, in relation to the abuse of travel vouchers by Parliamentarians, including Dlamini.
The court heard arguments in mitigation and aggravation of the sentence.
Senior State Adv. Matthews Rampyapedi, argued that the accused was previously convicted of fraud, now its perjury, both offences associated with dishonesty.
He further argued that the accused held a high office within the Public Service and should have been exemplary. He pleaded with the court to impose a sentence that will send a message that lying under oath cannot be tolerated.
The case was postponed to 1 April 2022, for delivery of the sentence.