ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile has defended the party for failing to implement the step-aside rule against ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini.
The former minister of social development was charged with perjury after she was found to have lied under oath during her testimony in an inquiry into her role in the 2017 social grants crisis that saw millions of grant beneficiaries unsure if they would receive their money.
Dlamini was accused of failing to ensure that the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) was equipped to administer social grants after a contract with Cash Paymaster Services, which was responsible for disbursing grants, was due to expire. Magistrate Betty Khumalo found that Dlamini gave false evidence regarding her knowledge of and involvement in Sassa operations.ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini in the dock at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court. Photo: Chanté Schatz, News24
Dlamini was arrested, charged and attended her trial until she was convicted in March without the ANC acting against her in line with the party’s step-aside regulations.
Mashatile said Dlamini was convicted for perjury and given the option of a fine, which concluded the matter.
“All of us will know that the constitution of the ANC respects the fact that if you have an option of a fine, we can’t regard that as misconduct and suspend or expel her because we have an option of a fine. However, she felt that this is such a matter of magnitude that she would like the integrity commission to hear her out because there may be other comrades who may be raising other arguments. [But] … being convicted itself doesn’t bring the ANC into disrepute or affect its image,” he said.Following our engagement with her, she has agreed to present herself voluntarily to the integrity commission of the ANC and will be abide by its decision. She has not been forced to go and appear.
He said because they agreed in the ANC national executive committee (NEC) that the matter needs to be attended to urgently, he had already written to the integrity commission to deal with it speedily.
Addressing the disbandment of the ANCWL, Mashatile said the league was still viable and involved in campaigning, but the term of its leadership had expired. The party NEC felt that continuing with the current leadership would be unconstitutional, hence it decided to disband the women’s league’s NEC.
“The women’s league should have gone to conference already because their period of office is five years. But, if you look at where we are, they would have been in office now for seven years. So we felt that we needed to relook at that. There were those who agreed that because of Covid-19 from 2020, they couldn’t have a conference. But it was still felt that it would be unconstitutional and legally indefensible to have a structure that operates beyond its term of office, and therefore a decision was taken that the women’s league NEC be disbanded and replaced with a task team.”
He said they were going back to the party NECin a week’s time to give the names of the task team members who would take over the work of the women’s league.
The task team will be mandated to look at the branches of the ANCWL so that they rebuild a more viable organisation.
Mashatile said the integrity commission processes may affect the women’s league conference, which was set to be held in June.I don’t think, realistically, we can do it in June.
“It may not be possible, but we will come back with a new time frame in terms of the challenges that we are addressing with the ANCWL, and will probably need another four months or so for them to go to conference.”