The Director of Public Prosecutions in Gauteng has decided to criminally prosecute former Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini for perjury.
The charges relate to her testimony during an inquiry the Constitutional Court instituted into her role in the 2017 social grants crisis.
The Black Sash Trust and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) have welcomed the decision.
According to a statement, a summons has been issued for Dlamini to appear in the Johannesburg Regional Court on 21 September.
“This decision sends the message that everyone is equal before the law, and public officials must be held accountable for their actions,” read a statement from the CALS.
In early 2017, Judge Bernard Ngoepe chaired an inquiry into Dlamini’s role in the social grants crisis.
He criticised the minister in a report he had compiled, saying that she was evasive when questions were put to her during an inquiry, News24 previously reported.
The inquiry suggested that some of Dlamini’s evidence under oath in affidavits, both before the court and orally, was false.
He said that she failed to answer simple questions which he had mentioned while the inquiry was under way.
Ngoepe said that Dlamini would “unjustifiably answer “I don’t know/remember to important questions”.
Ngoepe added:She would simply not answer some of the questions. Instead of answering the questions, she told counsel to proceed to the next one. She gave long answers, which did not speak to the question asked.
“… I simply could not understand why the minister was not properly answering such a simple question.”
He also said Dlamini would answer questions with questions.
In 2018, the Constitutional Court found Dlamini’s conduct had been “reckless and grossly negligent”. It found her liable for 20% of the legal costs of the Black Sash Trust and Freedom Under Law application.