Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini will hear if she will go to jail next month or face a fine after being found guilty of perjury.
The criminal proceedings have started with the Magistrate of Johannesburg on Wednesday after Dlamini was found guilty in her case involving the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) 2017 crisis†
Dlamini’s attorney Tshepiso Mphahlane made comments, pleaded against immediate jail time, and made a request to magistrate Betty Khumalo that the court impose a suspended fine on Dlamini in return for sentencing.
The former minister previously paid a R120,000 fine after she was convicted of fraud in 2006.
But Mphahlane said Dlamini’s conviction had been erased from her criminal record and the former minister should be treated as a first-time offender.
Meanwhile, prosecutors, lawyer Jacob Serepo, said Dlamini should face a “hefty fine” or jail time if the former minister fails to do so.
In response, Mphahlane agreed to a fine, but not a hefty one due to Dlamini’s finances.
The lawyer said Dlamini is a 59-year-old single parent who is currently paying tuition for her two children, ages 19 and 26.
He also pointed out that Dlamini receives R40,000 pension as a former Member of Parliament (MP), in addition to the R70,000 she earns as chair of ANC’s Women League (ANCWL†
After hearing both arguments, Magistrate Khumalo postponed the case until April 1 for sentencing.
However, Khumalo said Dlamini has been released on warning and an arrest warrant could be issued if the former minister does not show up on the day.
Earlier in the proceedings, Khumalo made her statement, saying the state had “succeeded” in proving “beyond reasonable doubt” that Dlamini lied under oath.
“The accused is accordingly found guilty as charged in relation to the main charge of perjury,” Khumalo said.
Dlamini was accused of lying under oath while testifying during an inquiry opened by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in 2018.
The investigation, chaired by Judge Bernard Ngoepe, found that Dlamini not only failed in her duties as a minister, but also failed to provide information to the investigation for fear of being held accountable for the 2017 crisis.
The former minister was ordered to pay court costs, which: she paid in 2021†
black sash and Freedom under the law (FUL) 20% of the legal costs were due during their judicial challenge until the first extension of the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract for the payment of social benefits.
Both organizations had applied to ConCourt to hold Dlamini accountable for her role in the Sassa crisis, which jeopardized the livelihoods of 17 million grant recipients.