Bathabile Dlamini lied under oath
Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini was an embarrassingly poor witness who lied
in her testimony, the SA Social Development Agency (Sassa) inquiry heard on Monday.
Submitting his closing arguments, Geoff Budlender, for NGO Black Sash, said Dlamini lied about the
role of the expensive work streams because she wanted to conceal her responsibility for her failures
and, ultimately, the social grants crisis that arose two years ago.
He added that Dlamini knew all along that the April 2017 deadline set by the Constitutional
Court would not be met.
“She simply refused to answer questions…was obstructive and lied under oath. It took the work
streams two months to know how to do their job, they started in July 2016 and there was never
anyone who believed that the deadline would be reached,” said Budlender.
“She knew all along that deadline would not be met, she said she only knew in 2017, but that is not
Former Sassa CEO Thokozani Magwaza and the former director-general
Zane Dangor’s “overwhelming” evidence contradicted Dlamini’s testimony, he added.
“The kindest way to describe the minister is that she was an embarrassingly poor witness. She lied
about the work streams in an attempt to avoid personal liability for costs, claiming they reported to
the Sassa executives and claimed they did their jobs as expected… she lied.”
The Constitutional Court-mandated inquiry is investigating whether Dlamini should be held liable for
the legal costs incurred in the protracted Sassa debacle.
Retired Judge Barnard Ngoepe is heading the inquiry.
Budlender said there were various reasons that could be advanced for Dlamini’s failures in the Sassa
debacle, and that the inquiry is mandated to make a finding, at least, about whether “this failure was
in good or bad faith