OUTA welcomes the Concourt’s costs order against the former Social Development Minister as a warning to all public office bearers
TThe Constitutional Court today ordered in a unanimous judgment that former Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini be held personally liable for 20% of the Black Sash and Freedom Under the Law’s legal costs in the SASSA grants saga. The rest of their legal costs must be paid by the Minister of Social Development, the SASSA CEO and SASSA in their official capacities.
The Concourt also ordered the National Director of Public Prosecutions to determine whether she lied under oath and should thus be prosecuted for perjury, because she misled the court to protect herself.
“It is about time that we see this kind of ruling to hold corrupt public officials to account for their unsavoury actions. This is a victory for those who depend on social grants and for those who have fought tirelessly for Bathabile Dlamini to answer for her irrational actions.” says Dominique Msibi, OUTA’s Portfolio Manager for Special Projects.
“We applaud the Concourt’s impartiality in this matter and its courage in holding this disgraced former minister to account. We hope this ends Dlamini’s career as a flagrant abuser of human rights. We also applaud the Black Sash and Freedom Under Law for seeing this case through.
“We welcome the Concourt’s dismissal of Dlamini’s argument that the separation of powers meant she could be held to account only by Parliament, not the Court. This sends a clear and welcome message to political office bearers that they can indeed be held to account in such circumstances.” The Concourt found that such personal orders are not judgments on political accountability but on how the rights of people affected by the conduct of a public official who is not open, transparent and accountable.
Msibi again calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Dlamini from her current position as Minister of Women in the Presidency. In May, Msibi wrote to the President calling for her dismissal.
“There is no justification for keeping her in the Cabinet,” she says.
“The chickens have finally come home to roost. Dlamini has been operating with arrogance and impunity, disregarding and blatantly flouting several orders by the Constitutional Court. Let this be an example to all who contravene the laws of our country, that their reign of terror has come to an end.”
Msibi says the Concourt’s comment that the ministerial office “demands a greater commitment to ethical behavior and requires a high commitment to public service” was a warning that public office bearers should not take lightly.