The following statement was delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, at a media briefing in Parliament. Maimane was joined by DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP.
The Department of Social Development is perhaps one of the most important in government, as it is tasked with the welfare of the most vulnerable people in our society – young children, the elderly, orphans, the disabled and foster children.
It should be a source of national shame that such an important department was ever run by a Minister like Bathabile Dlamini, and this shame is compounded by the fact that she now still remains in Cabinet in a position of important responsibility for championing women’s issues.
Yesterday’s scathing Constitutional Court judgement against Minister Bathabile Dlamini, in her capacity as then Minister of Social Development, confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa now harbours two Ministers in his Cabinet who have lied under oath.
These are not allegations. They are the unanimous findings of the Constitutional Court and the North Gauteng High Court respectively.
It is truly an exceptional circumstance to have two members of the Executive found to have lied under oath in court cases relating to their work in government. This is intolerable, and both of these Ministers should be dismissed from Cabinet.
I have written to President Ramaphosa asking him to fire Ministers Gigaba and Dlamini before 5 October. Should he fail to do so, we will approach the Courts to seek an order to compel him to act to uphold the honour of high executive honour and remove these two perjurers from his Cabinet.
President Ramaphosa has spoken often and vocally about his desire to act meaningfully to clean up his administration. This is a perfect opportunity for him to show real commitment to his words, and to act to uphold the integrity of the Executive.
Bathabile Dlamini has failed in her job, having been directly responsible for the social grants crisis, which the DA believes she purposefully manufactured to ensure CPS would continue to distribute grants, no doubt for her own personal gain.
Dlamini was determined to deliberately derail the entire process of SASSA procuring an alternative service provider, all in a bid to ensure that the CPS contract could be extended over and over again.
Retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe offered a scathing assessment of Dlamini’s testimony during the Inquiry into her role in the 2017 social grants debacle.
Yesterday’s unanimous judgment by the Constitutional Court found that (par 12): “(…) at best for her, her conduct was reckless and grossly negligent,” and that (par 15) “the Minister misled the Court to protect herself from the consequences of her behaviour.”
In the view of the court (par 15), she “used her position as Minister of the Department to place herself between constitutionally enshrined rights and those entitled to them.”
Minister Dlamini has time and again proven that she is incapable of governing a department and continuously failed in delivering on her mandate of protecting the most vulnerable in our society.
It is obvious that Dlamini is not fit for office and her contempt for the highest court in our country is matched only by her contempt for the most vulnerable people in our country.
Bathabile Dlamini is an embarrassment to the government and the country, and besmirches the office of Minister. The President should dismiss her immediately.
Where or not he does, the DA will lay criminal charges against Dlamini for committing perjury by lying under oath to the Constitutional Court.
We will also lay a complaint against Minister Dlamini, in terms of section 4 of the Executive Ethics Act. Section 2 of the Executive Ethics Act forbids “Cabinet members, Deputy Ministers and MECs from…exposing themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and their private interests; (iv) using their position or any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person; and (v) acting in a way that may compromise the credibility or integrity of their office or of the government.” As is stipulated by the Act, the complaint will be laid with the Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Minister Malusi Gigaba is directly implicated in bypassing South African law to ensure that the Guptas were given citizenship when they were not entitled to it.
In February this year, in the matter of Fireblade Aviation (Pty) Ltd v Minister of Home Affairs, Judge Neil Tuchten of the North Gauteng High Court found that Gigaba, when he was still Home Affairs Minister, “deliberately told untruths under oath” and that “he committed a breach of the constitution so serious that I could characterise it as a violation”.
The DA has already laid a formal complaint with the Public Protector requesting that she investigate Minister Gigaba’s conduct in the matter in light of the serious findings of the High Court. We will continue our engagements with the Public Protector to ensure that her investigation into Minister Gigaba is now expedited so that he can be held to account.
However, it seems that there has been little progress in this matter and Adv. Mkhwebane is dragging her feet. The DA reminds her that she has a duty to investigate without fear or favour and to ensure that those in high office uphold their oaths of office.
We will also follow this up now with perjury charges against Minister Gigaba.
The fact is that the ANC have taken South Africa down the wrong path. Corruption is rife and there is a lack of respect for the law and the requirements of high office.
President Ramaphosa has pledged to turn this around. Now is the time for him to show whether he really means in deed what he has said.
So far, he has often acted in the best interests of the unity of the ANC, instead of the best interests of the country. He must not defend these Ministers and protect their jobs in the interests of the ANC. He must fire these two liars now.