Ex-minister Bathabile Dlamini pleads not guilty to perjury charges against her

JOHANNESBURG – Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has pleaded not guilty to perjury charges in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court.

Dlamini is accused of perjury over her testimony during a Constitutional Court inquiry into her role in the Sassa crisis.

Judge Bernard Ngoepe, who chaired the inquiry, found that Dlamini was evasive in her answering of questions.

Sassa failed to find a service provider to administer social grants in time after Cash Paymaster Services’ contract expired.

Dlamini entered the dock on Wednesday morning for the first day of trial for perjury.

She was accompanied by about 10 supporters, some dressed in African National Congress (ANC) regalia.

Proceedings started off with Dlamini’s lawyer, Tshepiso Phalane, making some admissions. These include that Dlamini did not intend to lie and if she misled the inquiry, it was not intentionally.

The State and the defence have agreed to have Dlamini’s transcript from her testimony at the inquiry submitted as evidence but the court has also agreed to have the transcripts of any witnesses that may be cited unsealed.

The State has requested that the matter be remanded to allow for consultation with witnesses but Dlamini’s witnesses have opposed this.